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VOL. I. 






THE kindly welcome offered by the public two 
years ago to " Ancient Catholic Homes of 
Scotland," and the request of many friends 
that the series be continued, have led to the 
issue of the present volume. 

The wording and spelling of the original 
documents have been retained as far as possible, 
even at the risk of apparent inaccuracy. 

It is with great pleasure that the Author 
expresses his indebtedness to the many kind 
friends who have assisted him with the illustra 
tions, the correction of the different chapters, 
and the revision of the proofs. 

May 1909. 










BADENOCH . .122 


LOCHABER II. ... . 178 

STRATHGLASS . . . . . . .191 

INDEX 221 


THE DEE AT ARDEARG, BRAEMAR . . . Frontispiece. 

From a Photograph by the Author. 

Tojace page 


/. Thomson, Esq., Fort Augustus. 

MORTLACH (Meeting-place of the Vicars-Apostolic and 

Administrators) 13 

Dom. Lawrence Mann, O.S.B., Fort Augustus. 


From the Photograph by the Rev. Gfeorge Shaw, Duftown. 

THE COLLEGE OF SCALAN, 1717-1799 25 

From a Photograph by tht Author. 





From the Photograph of Messrs Wilson, Aberdeen. 


By permission of Messrs MacMahon, Inverness and Aberdeen. 


By permission of Ex- Provost Ross, LL.D., Inverness. 


To face page 

By the late Sin Percival Radcli/e, Bart. 


By Rodolphe Christen, Esq. 

From, the print in the possession of Very Rev. Canon Paul, 

MAR LODGE IN 1775 100 

From the Print in the possession of Chas. M Hardy, Esq., 




/. Thomson, Esq., Fort Augustus. 




James Faed, Esq., Coul, Laggan. 




From the Photo by W. Inglis Clark, Esq., D.Sc., Pres. Scottish 
Mountaineering Club. 


By permission of Mr Alex. Gardner, Publisher, Paisley. 


J. Thomson, Esq., Fort Augustus. 


From the Photo by W. Inglis Clark, Esq., D.Sc. t Pres. Scottish 
Mountaineering Club. 


To face page 

From the Original Portrait in the possttsion of Mrs Chisholm, 
The Elms, Inverness. 






By permission of the Misses Chisholm of Chisholm t Erehless 


By permission of the Misses Chisholm of Chisholm, Erehless 






By Permission of the Misses Chisholm of Chisholm, Erehless 


Design of Cover, Castleton of Braemar. 

The Chapters were revised as follows : 

Strathbogie The MARQUIS OF HONTLY. 

Glenlivet Colonel G. SMITH GRANT. 

Strathavon Rev. PETER FORBES. 

Glengairn JOHN MACPHERSON, Esq. 

Braemar CHAS. M HARDY, Esq. 

Badenoch Colonel A. W. M DONALD, D.S.O. 


Strathglass The late THEODORE CHISHOLM, Esq. 



THE Abb4 Macpherson, than whom no one was more 
conversant with the history of the Catholic Church in 
Scotland since the Eeformation, asserted that "the 
preservation of the ancient Faith was due, under God, 
to the House of Gordon." And indeed this fact stands 
out very prominently in the history of the seventeenth 
and of the first half of the eighteenth centuries, and 
receives confirmation from the fact that whether we 
follow the titles of the former Dukes of Gordon, or 
the line of their possessions, we shall always find 
that the Catholics were there protected, and that fair 
remains of the old Faith still exist. Amongst the 
titles of the first Dukes of Gordon were Earl of Enzie, 
Baron Gordon of Badenoch, Lochaber, Strathavon, and 
Glenlivet, whilst the possessions extended from Gordon 
Castle on the north-east coast to Fort William on 
the west ; and throughout this large extent of territory 
there were Catholic settlements, whilst the districts of 
VOL. I, A 


Enzie and Glenlivet were the very centre of Catholic 
life and the nurseries of its priesthood. 

Besides being the earliest seat of the Gordons in 
the north, Strathbogie, or Huntly Castle, 1 as it was 
later called, was long their chief residence, and one 
historian of the district claims with considerable truth 
that "the whole of the North of Scotland was for 
centuries ruled from this parish." At the change of 
religion, the Earl of Huntly became at once the head 
of the Catholic party. He commanded them at the 
battle of Glenlivet, in which the victory was chiefly 
due to his exertions ; but King James was so enraged 
at this resistance of his authority, that he himself 
marched against the Earl, who was forced to flee to 
France. His proud Castle of Strathbogie was burnt 
and dismantled, and the beautiful tapestry and costly 
hangings the like of which existed nowhere else in 
Scotland were carried to Edinburgh. After three 
years exile the Earl of Huntly returned to Strath 
bogie, was received into favour by King James, who 
created him the first Marquis of Scotland. The Castle 
of Strathbogie was rebuilt with even greater splendour 
than before, and within its walls was a chapel which 
the Catholics of the district long attended. 

In 1607 George Gladstones, one of the ministers of 
St Andrews, was sent by the General Assembly to 
Strathbogie Castle. He was ordered to remain there 
fifteen months to instruct the Marquis and his family 
in religion. But at the next Assembly he stated that 

1 Although this district is not now recognised as belonging to the 
Highlands, properly so called, yet the mountainous nature of a large 
part of it, and its close connection with the other Catholic Highlands, 
make it fitting that it should be included with them. 


he had gone to Strathbogie, "but had only remained 
there three days." He reported that the Marquis told 
him that he did not attend the preaching of the Word, 
partly in respect of the mean rank of such as were 
within the parish, and partly because his predecessors 
had a chapel within their own castle, which he had 
a mind to prosecute now, seeing he was rebuilding his 
house of Strathbogie. 

In 1606 he had been accused of giving encourage 
ment to the Roman Catholics, and thereby creating 
a great defection from the reformed doctrine. Shortly 
after, sentence of excommunication was pronounced 
against him; but in 1616 he promised the General 
Assembly of the Kirk that he would continue in the 
profession of the truth, i.e., Protestantism, and would 
make his children educated in the same. The sincerity 
of this renunciation was, however, doubted even at 
the time. 

The later years of the Marquis s life were embittered 
by the feud which sprang up between his family and 
the Crichtons of Frendraught ; the Gordons believing 
that the Marquis s son had been purposely burnt to 
death at the Castle of Frendraught, in consequence of 
which they burnt and plundered the lands and cattle 
of the Crichtons. The old Marquis was summoned 
before the Council as abetting these outrages, and was 
imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle in December 1635. Of 
his journey to the south the late Rev. Mr Macdonald 
writes: "Like a loyal subject and with the courage 
for good or evil that had marked his career, he set 
out for Edinburgh to put himself in ward. Here the 
old man found that the Crichton influence had been 


too much for him. Had this taken place in his younger 
days, the hero of Balrinnes and the Spanish bonds 
the man who dared the Kings of Scotland to their 
face, and held a sway in this old castle (of Strath- 
bogie) second only to that of the Kings of Scotland, 
would perhaps have braved false Charles Stuart to his 
face, as he had braved his father. But the old Marquis 
was done. He simply wished to get home to die 
home to Strathbogie Castle home to the noble house 
he had built, and which he has left us as a memorial 
behind him." 

His last moments are thus described by Spalding: 
"The Marquis, finding himself become weaker and 
weaker, desired to be at home, and upon a day in June 
was carried from his lodging in the Canongate, in a 
wand bed within his chariot (his lady still with him), 
to Dundee, and is lodged in Kobert Murray s house 
in the town. But now his hour is come ; further he 
might not go ; his sickness increases more and more ; 
he declares his mind to his lady and such friends as 
he had ; then recommends his soul to God, and upon 
the 13th of June departed this life a Koman Catholic, 
being about the age of three-score and fourteen years, 
to the great grief of his friends and lady, who had 
lived with him many years, both in prosperity and 
adversity." Father Blackball adds that he was attended 
at his most edifying death by Father William Christie. 

The same contemporary authority quoted above 
waxes wrath at the unkindly treatment to which his 
widow, now an old lady of seventy, was subjected. 
A daughter of the Duke of Lennox, and nearly related 
to the King, she was, like all professing Catholics of 


that day, "straitly put at." But she had been a 
Boman Catholic all her days, and now was advanced 
in life. So she would not alter her religion, but rather 
made choice to leave the kingdom, and to flee to 
France. Here she died within a year of her leaving 

The second Marquis, son of the preceding, was most 
earnest in defence of King Charles against the Covenant, 
and finally met his death on the scaffold in Edinburgh 
in 1649. His people of Strathbogie are described at 
this time as "the most part malignants or Papists." 
It was this Marquis who used the memorable words : 
"You may take my head from my shoulders, but not 
my heart from my sovereign." When, eventually, he 
found himself upon the scaffold, he refused the assist 
ance of the Presbyterian ministers. 

His grandson, at the age of eighteen, "went to 
France, where he completed his education in a Catholic 
seminary," and throughout his life proved true to his 
religion. After his marriage to a daughter of the 
Duke of Norfolk, being precluded by his religion from 
holding offices of State, he remained at Strathbogie. 
In 1684 he was created Duke of Gordon by Charles II., 
but a few years later he fell into disfavour with 
James II,, whose over-hasty measures for the reintro- 
duction of the Catholic Faith he disapproved. Never 
theless, he was one of the last in Scotland to hold out 
for King James, not giving up the Castle of Edinburgh 
until three days before the battle of Killiecrankie. By 
Nathaniel Hooke, writing in 1707, the Duke is described 
as " a Catholic, and entirely devoted to the King " ; and 
again the same writer says : " The territory of the 


Duke of Gordon is of great extent. He is absolute 
master of it, to protect the Catholics. He has given 
a house to the Bishop three miles off (and ? ) from Gordon 
Castle, where the Prelate lives with his priests, and 
the Catholic religion is exercised pretty openly all 
over." * 

The truth of the first portion of Hooke s statement is 
proved by an incident narrated in " Chambers s Annals." 2 
In April 1699 the Duke allowed Mass to be said in 
his lodging in Edinburgh. The authorities receiving 
information of this, made seizure of the Duke, and a 
considerable number of persons of all ranks, as they 
were met together in his house for Mass. The whole 
party was soon cited before the Privy Council, when 
His Grace and seven of the other offenders appeared. 
The Duke spoke so boldly of the laws against his faith 
and worship, that he was immediately sent prisoner 
to the Castle : three others were put in the Tolbooth. 
In the following year Bishop Wallace was arrested, 
whilst hearing confessions in the Duchess s house in 

At this period Gordon Castle, near Fochabers, came 
into favour as the headquarters of the family, and 
Strathbogie was allowed to fall to decay. One cause 
of the preference for Gordon Castle was the fact of 
its being "more sheltered from fussy Presbyterian 

Of the children of the first Duke, the Lady Jean 
married the Earl, later titular Duke, of Perth, who 
figured so largely in the Eising of 1745. The Duchess 

1 J. M. Bullock, "First Duke of Gordon," p. 99. 

2 Vol. iii. p. 204. 


herself was for years the chief support of the Catholics 
of Scotland, dying at Stobhall in 1773 at a very 
advanced age. Her brother, the last Catholic Duke 
of Gordon, met his death while still in the prime of 
life in consequence of a fatal illness brought on by 
a rapid journey to London, undertaken with the view 
to protect the little chapel of St Ninian, Enzie, from 
desecration, and to propitiate Government regarding the 
violent treatment to which one, Morrison, a preacher 
deputed by the General Assembly, had been subjected 
by the Catholics. Beside the sick - bed, the Eev. 
Eobert Gordon, for many years his chaplain, was 
actually preparing an altar for Mass, when the Duke 
suddenly grew worse and the last rites were hastily 

The Duke, who had ever been a zealous Catholic, 
teaching the little Marquis, his son, to serve Mass in 
St Ninian s Chapel, had, however, married a Protestant, 
the Lady Henrietta Mordaunt. The Duchess promised 
her dying husband that she would keep their relative, 
Father Kobert Gordon, as chaplain, to instruct and 
bring up their children. However, on the very first 
Sunday following the death of the Duke, this promise 
was broken, and the children were taken to the 
Protestant Church. 

The death of the Duke, due as it was to his zeal 
for the old Faith, and the solemn promise so hastily 
broken, are indeed not without their vein of tragedy, 
and one cannot but feel, as one reads this account, 
that it was a noble ending to a long series of efforts 
on behalf of the old Faith. Indeed, the time when 
the Catholics of Scotland needed a powerful defender 


was fast passing away, and toleration was spoken of 
on all sides. Having for one hundred and fifty 
years been the outspoken opponents of the new 
religious ideas, whether of Presbytery, Covenant, or 
Episcopalianism, there is little doubt but that, despite 
occasional errors of judgment such as are inseparable 
from the history of any great family, the House of 
Gordon did a great work in affording at least some 
protection to Catholics, and did indeed preserve the 
faith in many a distant hamlet and in many a 
secluded glen. 

Mention is often made in histories of the district 
of the chapel in the castle, with reference to which 
the minister of Strathbogie complained in 1660 that 
"if the church of the Lady Marchioness increased 
as much in the next three months as it had done 
in the last, he would give up preaching in Strathbogie 
altogether." Whilst in 1637 Father Blackball "used 
to say Mass in Eobert Eines house in the Eaws 
of Strathbogie, as well as at Cairnborrow, four miles 
distant." There is evidence that upon occasion he 
also celebrated Mass in the little abandoned church of 
Drumgeldie, i.e. Peterkirk, which stood some three miles 
westward from the Eaws of Strathbogie, on Deveron- 
side, a mile or so up the water from Dunbennan Church. 
The desolate little churchyard at Peterkirk is not 
yet entirely abandoned, for still at long intervals a 
Catholic funeral wends its way thither. But in 
Father Blackhall s time the church edifice was still 
capable of affording shelter to the worshippers, although 
it was known as the brunt kirk. 1 Here indeed are 

1 "Seventeenth-Century Sketches," Miss M. Gray, Huntly. 


buried many of the priests who laboured in the district, 
including the saintly George Adamson, himself a 
Strathbogie man by birth, who was so greatly praised 
by Bishop Geddes and others. 

In 1688 there were said to be seven hundred 
Catholics in Strathbogie under Mr Christie. In 
1724, from an unexpected source, the report of the 
Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, we get 
the interesting information that "there were 218 
Eornan Catholics in Huntly, with a chapel at 
Eobieston, where Peter Reid and John Tyrie preach 
and say Mass." Mr Tyrie was here still in 1733, 
when he appears to have been succeeded by Mr 
Paterson. In 1736 the S.P.C.K. informs us that 
" there were 198 Roman Catholics, a mass - house 
at Robieston (66 feet by 18 feet !) where designed 
Bishop Gordon frequently, and Alex. Paterson statedly 

The chapel at Robieston, half a mile from Strath 
bogie Castle, was still in use in 1746, when it was 
burnt by the soldiery. In 1787 Mr C. Maxwell, 
the priest of that date, who resided at Gibston, was 
busy superintending the building of a new chapel 
which like others of that period was to be slated 
"a great improvement," writes Bishop Geddes, "and 
a proof that the persecuting spirit is abated." St 
John s, as the new chapel was called, is still standing 
at the back of the present chapel, and about fifty yards 
distant from it. This little chapel has had a strange 
history. It was abandoned in 1834 for the new chapel, 
the site of which was acquired from the then extinct 
Lodge of Freemasons. After lying empty for some 


time, the old chapel was used as a carpenter s shop, 
but it has since been acquired by the resuscitated 
Freemason s Lodge, who still retain its old name of 
St John s. 

The present church was built in 1834. The Directory 
of that date says: "During last winter a new and 
splendid chapel was erected in Huntly. A great part 
of the funds consisted of a munificent bequest made for 
that purpose by a late member of the family of Ward- 
house, to which very considerable additions were made 
by John Gordon, Esq., of Xerez and Wardhouse. . . . 
Nor is it out of place to remark that this is the first 
Catholic chapel in Scotland since the Eeformation 
that has had a spire and bell." The site, it has been 
truly said, is one of the most beautiful in the town. 
Huntly Castle is quite in view great in its ivy- 
mantled ruins and affecting reminiscences. In its 
garden, marked by two old pear trees still standing, 
the immortal Father Blackball, while a price was on 
his head, at the dead of night had a meeting with 
the Marquis of Huntly, to get permission to fulfil 
a promise, asked by and plighted to the Lady Aboyne 
on her death-bed, to take her daughter from Scotland 
to France to be brought up in the Catholic Faith. 

It will not be out of place to mention here that besides 
the chief of the clan, many of the Gordon lairds long 
remained true to the faith of their forefathers, follow 
ing the example of the Huntly family and sharing 
their persecution. Amongst numberless examples the 
following may be quoted. In 1601 Gordon of Gight, 
summoned for " popery " before the Presbytery, replied : 
"If it shall please His Majesty and your wisdoms 


of the Kirk of Scotland sae to tak my blude for my 
profession, whilk is Catholic Roman, I will maist 
willingly offer it ; and gif sae be, God grant me 
constancy to abide the same." 

In 1624 Gordon of Craig as "an excommunicat and 
trafficking papist," was obliged to leave the Kingdom ; 
in 1637 Gordon of Cairnboro and in 1638 Gordon 
of Cowdraine were cited before the Synod of Strath- 
bogie, as was William Gordon, in Avochie, in 1650. 
The following year this good man being asked by 
the Presbytery "why he frequented not God s public 
worship and communicated not, answered, he was not 
of our profession, but was ane Roman Catholic, who 
was brought up in the House of Huntly in the popish 
religion. Being desired to conform himself to the 
reformed religion of the Kirk of Scotland, answered, 
he could not at the first till better information, etc., etc." 

Of the family of Beldornie, now of Wardhouse, 
Jean Gordon, mother of the laird, and Marie his 
sister are in 1704 returned as Papists ; whilst in 1732 
it was reported to the Presbytery that James Gordon, 
of Beldornie, was a Papist, and that priests met at 
his house. Indeed, two of his sons were educated 
at the Scots Monastery of Eatisbon, viz., Arthur, who 
appears in the list of arrivals in 1739, when he was 
eight years old, and Charles, who entered in 1748, 
at the age of eleven. The younger only became a 
priest, and died in Holland in 1816. An uncle of 
theirs, Alexander, had entered in 1718, but he returned 
to Scotland, where he later married. He was a son 
of Alexander Gordon by his wife Giles MacDonell, of 
Keppoch. This lady has left a great name as a poetess, 


of whom Mrs Grant, of Laggan, in her letters says : 
" The enthusiasm with which her character was deeply 
tinged, seems to have been not only poetical, but 
heroic, patriotic, and in a very high degree devotional. 
She was a Catholic too, and took every advantage 
that a religion so pompous and picturesque offered 
to embellish her poetry with the peculiar imagery it 
afforded. The hymns and sacred rhapsodies of Sheelah 
(her Gaelic name) are still the consolation and delight 
of all pious Highland Catholics." It is indeed pleas 
ing to note the sterling qualities of this good Catholic 
lady of two hundred years ago, and to remember that 
her descendants, who still remain true to the faith 
which was hers, had been so closely connected with 
the building of the present church. 

Of the priests who served this mission, Mr John 
Gordon was priest in Huntly from 1742-1761, and 
his register of baptisms, marriages, and deaths is still 
extant. It is indeed one of the oldest registers which 
have survived. From a list at the end we learn that 
during the eighteen years he was in Huntly he was 
able to make fifty-six entries on the "list of those 
who abjured heresy " before him. Mr William Duthie 
continues the entries till 1776, when Mr C. Maxwell 
succeeded. At this date we are told there were 
two missions in Strathbogie. Mr William Eeid at 
Mortlach a man of great merit, though in feeble 
health superintended 430 communicants in a circuit 
of eight miles ; whilst Mr Duthie took charge of other 
350 communicants within a range of ten miles from 
his residence at Huntly. Other priests in charge of 
this mission were Mr Andrew Scott later Bishop 


1801-1805; Mr James Macdonald till 1811; Mr 
William Eattray till 1819 ; Mr James M Lachlan, 1820- 
1826; and in later years Mr Terence M Guire, J. 
Macdonald, and John Sutherland. 

Within the district of Strathbogle two spots are 
especially associated with the history of the Catholic 
Church during the stormy period of the eighteenth 
century. About six miles north from Huntly 1 is the 
hamlet of Mortlach ; a mere hamlet it is indeed, and 
it was never much more, being situated in the Binn 
district, within the Parish of Cairnie. Mr John 
Gordon, of the family of Cairnborrow, seems to have 
settled here about 1718, for he died here in 1720. 
It was he who had been the first to settle at Scalan, 
moving thither from the lower district of Glenlivet. 
In 1739 Mr William Eeid was priest here, and here 
he laboured with great zeal until his health was 
quite broken, when he retired in 1769. He had 
originally been sent to assist his uncle, Mr William 
Shand, who was at Mortlach for some years previous 
to 1740. 

Although Mr Eeid was made prisoner in 1746 and 
carried to Edinburgh, yet the chapel was not destroyed. 
There is thus every reason to believe that the priest s 
house was also spared, and that the building, as it now 
stands, was the residence of Mr Eeid. Here the three 
Vicars Apostolic met for their yearly meeting, each 
arriving by different routes in order to avoid suspicion, 
and observing the greatest secrecy lest their meeting 
be thought political, instead of purely ecclesiastical. 

1 The town of Strathbogie was named Huntly as early as 1450, but 
the castle retained the name much longer, whilst the district retains 
it still. 


Close to the priest s house was the chapel, but of 
this scarce any traces are left. Services had, however, 
been conducted here for nearly a hundred years, when 
in 1805 Mr James Macdonald received the joint 
mission of Mortlach and Huntly. Although the ruins 
prove that there must have been many houses here 
at that time, the township is now deserted. Indeed 
a more desolate spot can scarcely be imagined, the 
poor land offering very little inducement to the farmer, 
whilst the exposed situation has nothing of the seclusion 
of Scalan, so far, at least, as weather conditions are 

That a man should have the pluck to labour for 
thirty years, as Mr Keid did, in so wild a district is 
indeed proof of his sterling qualities, which were most 
highly commended by the venerable Bishop Geddes. 
This good missioner was also in favour with Bishop 
Smith and with Mr, later Bishop, Grant, if we 
may judge from the following incident, related by 
Mr Thomson in his notes. Upon Mr Grant s appoint 
ment to be bishop, Bishop Smith sent the briefs to 
Mr Eeid, as he feared Mr Grant s humility and opposi 
tion. Mr Eeid, who was a relative and close friend 
of Mr Grant, set off immediately for Preshome, where 
Mr Grant resided, and assuming a dejected and sorrow 
ful countenance, he said he came to him as to his 
best friend on a subject that highly interested him 
and the whole mission, and showing the briefs directed 
to himself by Bishop Smith. "These," he said, "are 
come from Eome; what shall I do? My incapacity 
and unworthiness for such an office is known to you 
and to everybody this cannot be the work of the 


Holy Ghost, and I am resolved not to accept of the 
dignity, only I am uneasy at the thought of dis 
obedience, not only to my bishop, but even to the 
Vicar of Jesus Christ. For God s sake speak your 
mind without disguise, and advise me in what manner 
I have to refuse the charge, for I feel I can never 
think of being bishop." He then put up the paper 
in his pocket, and Mr Grant, who really thought 
Mr Eeid had been named, entered fully into the 
subject and strongly enforced all the arguments that 
could occur upon such an occasion to do away with 
Mr Eeid s opposition and induce him to submit. This 
gentleman again did not miss urging in the strongest 
manner the objections to which he knew Mr Grant 
would give the greatest strength in his own case, 
all of which were answered with much perspicuity 
and force of reasoning. Mr Eeid then pretended to 
be convinced, and concluded : " And can you promise 
me, Mr Grant, that this course which you advise is 
that which you would yourself follow ? " " Indeed it 
is," replied his friend ; " the course which I have advised 
you to take is that which I would myself adopt in 
your circumstances." "Very well," said Mr Eeid, 
"here are the briefs; they are for you, and not for 
me at all." 

The other station within the Strathbogie district 
which ranks amongst the earliest in the Highlands 
is that of Shenval in the Cabrach. The Bogie river, 
whence Strathbogie has its name, rises at the foot 
of the Buck of Cabrach, a hill nearly 2,500 feet high. 
The whole district, which is .the dividing line between 
Banffshire and Aberdeenshire, has a most unenviable 


reputation for storms and for its excessive cold. For 
over a century it was known to the missioners as 
the "Siberia of Scotland"; here they often started 
their career, but few indeed were they who did not 
soon yearn for other fields of labour, as the well-known 
tale related by Dr Gordon proves. A young missioner, 
fresh from College, when told by Bishop Hay that 
the Shenval was to be his station, remarked : " Very 
well ; I can have no objection : it is very proper that 
every one should take his turn at that place." " Stop ! " 
said the Bishop ; " that is not a proper way of speaking 
of it; you should be willing, if necessary, to go and 
labour there for the rest of your life." " Of course 
so," said the young priest ; " but if that should happen, 
may the Lord have mercy on me." 

The truth seems to be that this mission was started 
at a time when persecution was most severe, and 
when priest and people had to retire to the most 
inaccessible districts in order to avoid pursuit. In 
accessible it certainly is, whilst the incident related 
by Abbe Macpherson proves its title of Siberia to 
have been but little exaggerated. During the only 
winter Mr Macpherson was there a deep snow fell 
on All-Souls Day, and lay on the ground till the end 
of the following March, and for the most part of that 
time it was four feet deep all over. In many places 
where it had driven, it was on a level with the tops 
of the houses. While the country was thus covered 
he was on one occasion called to assist a dying person, 
and night coming on before they reached the place, 
his guide put him on his guard against falling down 
a chimney, as the path along which they were walking 




English Miles 

The red tint shows the Districts to be dealt with. 


led them over the top of a dwelling house the chimney 
of which would, according to the custom of that time, 
have been a hole in the roof of the cottage. 

The following list of the heights at which some 
of the Highland chapels, present and past, are situated 
may here prove interesting : 


Scalan, Glenlivet . . 1265 1715-1799 
Shenval, Cabrach . . 1200 1731-1821 

.->... fThe fine new chapel 
Chapeltown, Glenlivet . 1175 j wag built in 1897> 

f An old and still 
Tomintoul, Strathavon . 1150 | flourishing mission. 

Br ae m ar .... 1111 ftj&ftj* 

{The chapel was re 
moved to Ballater, 

{The congregation is 
much reduced in 

f An old and still 
Tombae, Glenlivet . . 900 | flourishing mission. 

Of these Shenval is certainly the most exposed, 
being placed at the top of a small hill, open to the 
winds from every direction. Indeed on the occasion 
of the visit paid by the present writer in the middle 
of July, the wind was so cold and piercing, " so coorse," 
that he was glad to hasten away. " If Shenval were 
so bleak in midsummer, what must it have been to 
the devoted missioners who lived there in midwinter ? " 
was the thought that forced itself upon him. 

The first of those to settle here was Mr Burnet, who 
is said to have had 700 Catholics to attend to. In 
1731 Mr Brockie then newly arrived on the mission 

VOL. I. B 


" got a croft in tack " from Dr Gordon of Keithmore, 
at Shenval itself, and removed thither. He had under 
his charge the Catholics of Cabrach, Glass, Mortlach, 1 
and Aberlour. 

During the incumbency of Mr Brockie, the chapel 
at Shenval was burnt by the Duke of Cumberland s 
soldiers, after which Mass was said in a barn till 1780. 
Mr Brockie was succeeded by Mr, later Bishop, Geddes. 
He found this mission laborious indeed, yet he greatly 
liked it. He served by turns five stations Shenval, 
where he had a house of his own and for most part 
had the venerable Bishop Hugh Macdonald for a lodger, 
it being unsafe for the good bishop to appear in the 
Highlands, on account of the part he had taken in 
the Eising of 1745 ; Keithmore, where Dr Gordon, 
brother of Bishop Gordon, dwelt ; Beldorny, Aberlour, 
and Auchanachy. 

Mr Geddes was succeeded in 1762 by Mr Menzies, 
who took up his residence at Keithmore. He served 
this district till 1783, though it appears to have been 
divided about this time, Mr William Eeid, who had 
had charge of it for a few years, taking the Strathisla 
mission, whilst Mr Dawson received Shenval as his 
first charge. 

Of Mr Eeid, Dr Gordon relates that, like so many 
of the priests of that date, he was on most friendly 
terms with his Protestant neighbours, and was greatly 
esteemed by them. At a time when there was very 
high feeling between different Protestant sections 
Burghers, An ti- Burghers, etc. Mr Eeid attended a 

1 This Mortlach, for which in early times a Bishop s See is claimed, 
is situated a mile or so from Dufftown, some fifteen miles by road from 
the Mortlach of which above. 


large dinner party. He could not restrain his emotion 
in bemoaning the loss of his fine mare. Old Tom 
Johnstone, a strong leader amongst the Anti-Burghers, 
thought that he had got a fine hit at Mr Eeid at the 
expense of the ceremonies of his Church, when he put 
forth this profane query : " Did you give your mare 
Extreme Unction, Mr Keid, before she died ? " " Deed 
no, Mr Johnstone," was Mr Eeid s quick reply, "the 
poor beast died a Burgher." 

As already stated, the chapel at Shenval was burnt 
in 1746, but in 1780 Mr Macpherson, who had arrived 
in the previous year, got a new chapel built. Protest 
ants, as well as Catholics, we are told, even the minister 
himself, helped to provide the materials for the build 
ing. At this period the stations were Shenval, Braelach, 
Tullochallum, and Aberlour. At Tullochallum long 
the residence of a branch of the Gordons of Glastirum 
there was no room large enough, so Mass was said in 
the kiln, or granary. A complete set of altar hangings 
was kept here, and Alexander, one of the sons, used to 
carry the altar stone and chalice, with other requisites 
for Mass, from Shenval. 

It addition to those visits, Bishop Hay, when on his 
journeys between Aberdeen and Scalan, invariably 
spent some time at Tullochallum, resting there occa 
sionally for a week or more. When on his journeys, 
always performed in his later years on horseback, 
the bishop was accompanied by his man-servant. This 
was necessary as well for assistance as protection, as 
they carried all the baggage, including the bishop s 
vestments and everything necessary for celebrating 
Mass, in two immense saddle-bags, which were often 


so full as to hang down as far as the rider s feet on 
either side, and to require a very wide stable door to 
admit both horse and valise at the same time. 

It is said that the name of Tullochallum was so 
well known in Kome that some of the students, on 
their return to Scotland as priests, having heard so 
much of it and the family, were astonished to find it 
only a modest farmhouse. 

One saying of old Tullochallum is well remembered 
to this day. It pained him to think how he and a 
favourite companion, though such good friends during 
the week, attended different churches on the Sunday. 
Says Tullochallum: "Man, Sandy, it s a strange 
thing that we twa who are sic faist friends and ai 
togither through the week, should pairt company on 
the Sabboth. There must be something of the de el 

in it." 

When times became less intolerant, and it was con 
sidered more convenient for priest and people, the 
headquarters of the Cabrach Mission were removed 
from Shenval to the farm of Upper Keithock in 
Auchindoune, possibly about 1790. To help the priest 
to live, the Duke of Gordon rented him the small farm, 
and a little church was built, one story and thatched 
roof. Mr John Gordon, Tullochallum, took upon 
himself the cost of cultivating the priest s farm, seed 
and labour never doing anything of his own till the 
priest s crop was laid down. A practice, by the way, 
which is still of frequent occurrence in the Highlands. 

Some years later, Mr George Gordon, not satisfied 
with the thatched chapel, set to work and erected a 
comfortable two-story stone building with slated roof. 


The lower story served as the presbytery, and the 
upper flat, having a vaulted roof, made a very respect 
able chapel a great improvement on the other, with 
its mud floor. 

In 1817 the village of Dufftown, on the property of 
the Earl of Fife, a very liberal nobleman, was begun. 
It is situated two and half miles north-west of the farm 
of Keithock, and besides being more central, was on 
the highway to Glenlivet and the upper missions. 
Mr Gordon got a grant of a few acres of land from 
the Earl of Fife, and in 1825 he built thereon a very 
neat stone church, with Gothic facade, as well as a 
compact and comfortable presbytery, and enclosed the 
whole property with a stone and lime wall, all of which 
remain to this day, a standing memorial of his zeal and 

Of the other stations of the old Cabrach mission, 
Shenval is almost completely depopulated, and scarce 
a stone remains to show where the chapel once stood, 
though it were to be desired that a cairn, so often seen 
in the Highlands, were erected to perpetuate the site. 
Aberlour has always been visited occasionally from 
Dufftown, and at the present moment a small chapel 
is in course of erection there. 

At the risk of a slight digression, it may be 
interesting to note that the Strathisla mission was in 
1785 fixed at Kempcairn, where the two daughters of 
Dr Gordon, of Keithmore, had resided since the death 
of their father in 1765. Kempcairn, of which an 
illustration is given in Gordon s " Book of the Chronicles 
of Keith," is a small farm about half a mile from Keith. 
The farmhouse is " a but and a ben " of one story, and 


the small chapel was at the south end, straw-thatched, 
and possibly still standing, In 1831 Mr Lovie trans 
ferred the church to Keith, where the present chapel 
and priest s house were erected by his exertions. 

Dr Gordon, of whom mention has been made more 
than once in the foregoing pages, had at one time 
owned the estate of Balnacraig, on Deeside. This he 
gave, in default of male heirs, during his lifetime to 
the eldest of his three daughters, who had married 
James Innes, of Drumgask, near Aboyne. Dr Gordon 
then went to live at Keithmore, where Mass was said 
in his house by the priest of Cabrach, and this was the 
beginning of the Dufftown mission. It would thus 
appear that this good man and his daughters were 
largely instrumental in the foundation of the three 
missions of Balnacraig, the predecessor of Aboyne, 
Keithmore, the predecessor of Dufftown, and Kemp- 
cairn, that of Keith. 

It is also worthy of note that as toleration became 
the order of the day, the remote chapels were disused 
and churches arose in their place in the neighbouring, 
towns, so that at the present date the earlier stations of 
the Strathbogie district, where Mass was almost con 
tinuously said between 1650 and 1800, and which are 
accordingly well worthy of our veneration, are, as a 
matter of fact, almost lost to memory. 


IN the history of the last three hundred years the quiet 
little valley of the river Livet has figured very promi 
nently. In 1594 there was fought at Alltacoileachan 
the battle which has become known as the battle of 
Glenlivet, and which was little else than a combat 
between the Catholic Lords with their followers on the 
one side, and the Protestant Lords on the other. The 
facts are as follows. James VI., being undecided which 
party to support, that of the Catholics who were still 
numerous, especially amongst the nobility of the north, 
or the Protestants, sent in 1593 a secret mission to the 
Pope to treat of the return of Scotland to the allegiance 
of Eome ; but in 1594, finding that popular agitation 
was increasing, he once more changed his mind, and 
resolved that the laws against Catholics should be 
enforced. With this view he determined to send an 
army to the Gordon country, ever the stronghold of the 
Catholic side. 

The Earl of Argyle, having been appointed his 
Lieutenant in the north, marched at the head of over 
10,000 men against his old enemy the Earl of Huntly. 
The Catholic Earls of Huntly and Errol " thought it 
would be more to their honour in so just a cause to die 
sword in hand than to be murdered in their own houses. 



They quickly collected 1,500 horsemen from amongst 
their friends and retainers, with a few foot-soldiers, and 
invoked the Divine assistance with confession and 
communion." 1 Both sides fought with great valour, 
but six pieces of artillery with which Huntly was 
provided seem to have had a large share in securing 
him the victory. At their first discharge, Campbell 
of Lochnell, Argyle s cousin, and Macneill of Barra, 
were shot dead, and the whole following of Lochnell 
left the field. A large part of Argyle s men, who had 
never seen artillery before, were thrown into confusion 
by the cannonade. Huntly, perceiving this, charged the 
enemy, and rushing in amongst them with his horse 
men, increased the confusion. At length the victory 
was complete and Huntly and his men returned thanks 
to God on the field for the success they had achieved. 

A quaint story survives of a wounded soldier 
Captain M Lean, of Mull who, as he lay dying on the 
field of battle, prayed that he might be buried in the 
quiet little cemetery of Downan, " where the tongue 
of the Sassenach might never be heard." The good 
man s grave is still pointed out, but along the whole 
length of Glenlivet not a word of Gaelic has been 
spoken for over one hundred years : the tongue of the 
Sassenach, unfortunately, is all that is heard. 

But another cause of the celebrity which Glenlivet 
has acquired in the Catholic Annals of the past is that for 
the greater part of the seventeenth century, that is, from 
1717-1799, the little college or seminary of Scalan was 
the centre of Catholic activity. Over a hundred mission 
aries were educated wholly or partially within its walls, 

1 "Narrative of Scottish Catholics/ Forbes Leith, p. 224. 


and against it the hostility of the enemies of the Catholic 
Faith were time after time directed. 

"Every Scots Catholic, who has any zeal for the 
advancement of the true religion in his country, and 
still more particularly persons in our circumstances, 
must naturally have an affectionate regard for the 
little College, as I may call it, of Scalan." These 
words, written one hundred and thirty years ago, are 
surely truer still to-day. Their author, in his " Brief 
Historical Account of the Seminary of Scalan, read in 
an Academical Meeting in the Scots College at Valla- 
dolid, 18th June 1777," assures us his information is 
derived from those who like himself had spent many 
years in the College, especially Bishop Hugh Macdonald, 
Bishop Smith, and Mr George Gordon, long time its 

It adds greatly to the interest of the following narra 
tive to know that it is in the handwriting of the 
venerable Bishop Geddes, the foremost authority on 
the history of the Catholic Church in Scotland. On 
this account the narrative is followed as closely as 

It was in 1713 that Bishop Nicolson and Bishop 
Gordon first started the idea of a seminary, which 
would not only prepare boys for the colleges abroad, 
but also educate them for the priesthood, without their 
leaving this country. The latter object was at first the 
chief one aimed at, though later the former superseded 
it. A few gentlemen s sons also, destined for a secular 
life, were received, but this was always considered 
accidental, and was avoided as much as possible. 

The place chosen for the establishment was the 


island on Loch Morar. Mr George Innes, afterwards 
Principal of the Scots College, Paris, was sent to be 
the first master, and Mr Hugh Macdonald, son of the 
Laird of Morar, afterwards first Vicar Apostolic of the 
Highlands, was one of the first scholars. But before 
the school had long existed the Civil War of 1715 
and the ensuing calamities occasioned a dissolution of 
it ; nor was the re-establishment of it attempted till 
a year or two after, and then Scalan was judged a 
proper place in which the execution of the former 
plan might be prudently resumed. 

Scalan is situated in the furthermost part of the 
Lordship of Glenlivet in Banffshire. It is a most 
isolated spot, surrounded on three sides by hills 2,000 
to 2,700 feet high, which extend for many miles to 
the west, south, and east. Did the present writer not 
fear to interrupt the narrative he could give some 
details of a veritable pilgrimage up Glengairn, over the 
Lecht road which itself rises to a height of 2,000 feet, 
and which, as our author puts it, " forms the nearest 
part of the desert that divides Glenlivet from Strathdon." 
The first priest stationed in Glenlivet after the Reforma 
tion seems to have been Eev. James Devoir, who came 
from Ireland in August 1681 and remained till about 
1698. He was followed by Mr James Kennedy, who 
came from Paris in June 1699, and later by Mr John 
Gordon, who came in 1708. 

This Mr John Gordon, of the family of Cairnbarrow, 
was missionary in Glenlivet in 1715, and had his 
residence somewhere about Minmore or Castleton ; but 
in the next summer, when General Cadogan and other 
officers of the Hanoverian party came north with their 


troops, he thought it safest for him to make his 
ordinary abode in the most retired part of the country, 
and stayed commonly in a barn which was on the 
south-west corner of the " town of " Scalan. It was about 
this time that he resolved to make himself a habitation 
on the banks of the Crombie, near to an excellent 
fountain which he saw there, and in fact before winter, 
with the permission of Mr Grant of Tomnavoulin, he 
had all that place in tack from the Duke of Gordon, 
the juniper bushes with which hitherto the ground 
had been covered cleared away and somewhat of a 
yard formed. This was the very beginning of Scalan 
being a dwelling-place of our clergymen. 

This spot was looked upon by Bishop Gordon as very 
proper for the purpose of reviving the Catholic School. 
Scalan was not only on the Duke of Gordon s estate, 
who was then a Catholic, but it was also retired, and 
there were many Catholics in the district. It is un 
certain whether Mr Gordon had charge of the college ; 
in any case he left it very soon, and Mr George Innes 
was appointed. Mr John Tyrie succeeded him ; but 
he had the school only for a short time, when he was 
succeeded by Mr Alex. Grant, brother of Bishop Grant. 
Mr Grant continued Superior from 1720-1726. In 
1726 the Seminary was closed for some months 
because of the storm raised against it, for Glenlivet 
and Strathavon were full of parties of- soldiers, but 
in the course of the following year, the influence of 
the Duke of Gordon was sufficient to enable the bishop 
to reopen the Seminary. In 1728 its occupants were 
again twice dispersed in the short space of two months, 
but with little permanent damage to the establishment, 


which was soon again occupied by its owners in their 
ordinary routine of peaceful study! 

The house was built at the foot of the hill on the 
very brink of the Crombie Burn, and for about twenty 
years it was almost entirely of turf. For the mainten 
ance of some milch cows Mr Grant of Tomnavoulin 
gave them in subtack a piece of land extending up the 
hill from the house ; and another Mr Grant, who was 
the Duke s factor in some of those parts, granted a 
piece of ground on the east side of Crombie, which put 
it in the power of the college Superior to form an 
enclosure, through which Crombie runs ; and this con 
tributes to the agreeableness of the place and much 
more to its usefulness. It is on a part of this ground 
thus added to Scalan that the house built in 1767 
was situated. 

Mr Hugh Macdonald, who had been at the school 
at Morar, was also one of the first pupils at Scalan. 
He was joined by Mr George Gordon, born at Drumin, 
in Glenlivet, later Superior of Scalan and long while 
missioner in Aberdeen. Mr James Grant, bishop in 
1774, was two years at Scalan about the year 1720. 

Bishop Gordon took a pleasure in staying some 
months in each year in the summer at Scalan, and 
was very desirous that learning and virtue should 
nourish there. For the obtaining of this end he drew 
up short rules in the year 1722, of which a copy in 
his own handwriting was still in the house in 1777. 
These rules resemble very much the rules of the 
Pontifical College, with which Bishop Gordon had 
become familiar during his long residence in Eome. 

The good bishop began to reap the fruits of his 


endeavours in the year 1725, for he then had the 
satisfaction on the Ember Saturday of September to 
confer the order of priesthood on Mr Hugh Macdonald 
and Mr George Gordon. The first of these gentlemen 
was not long after sent to the Highlands, and he 
exercised his missionary functions for some years with 
extraordinary success in the country of Morar, until 
he went to Paris, where he stayed in the Scots College 
a year or two, and then returned to Scotland and was 
consecrated Bishop of Diana at Edinburgh by Bishop 
Gordon in 1731, and was appointed by the Pope first 
Vicar Apostolic of the Western (Highland) part of 
the Kingdom. Such was the first alumnus of the 
little college of Scalan. 

The other young priest, Mr George Gordon, had 
charge of the Glenlivet mission for a year, and then 
succeeded Mr Grant as Superior at Scalan. There 
were now many scholars at the College, amongst them 
being Mr Will. Reid, who after several years at 
Scalan was sent to Eome in 1733 and returned in 
1739. He laboured with great zeal in the mission 
of Mortlach, until his health being quite broken he 
retired to Aberdeen. Two less promising alumni were 
Mr Will. Gordon, who after long residence at Scalan 
was ordained in Home but never returned to the 
mission ; and Mr Francis M Donell, who was educated 
and ordained at Scalan, behaved ill in the Highlands, 
apostalised in Edinburgh about 1742, and then lived in 
retirement on the West Coast. 

Amongst the sons of gentlemen not intended for 
the priesthood, yet educated at Scalan, appear the 
names of Mr Gordon of Aberlour, the sons of Gordon 


of Letterfourie and Birkenbosh, as well as of Glastirum. 
Mention is also made of a boarding school for young 
gentlemen which existed about this time in Strathavon 
under Mr Gregory Farquharson. He had been preceptor 
to Cosmo, Duke of Gordon, took arms in 1745, was made 
prisoner at the battle of Culloden, and died soon after. 

In 1736 Mr George Gordon went to the Aberdeen 
mission and was succeeded at Scalan by Mr Alex. 
Gordon of Curroch. In 1738 he built a new house 
of stone and lime for the greatest part, and therefore 
much better than the former one. At this time there 
was at Scalan Mr Dougall Macdonald from the Isle 
of Uist, who afterwards completed his studies in Kome, 
and became a zealous missionary in his own country, 
but died young, to the great regret of all who had 
known him ; Mr Alex. Gordon, who was himself 
another of the Scalan youths of this date, being both 
educated and ordained there, was Superior from 1736- 
1741. He was then made procurator of the mission, 
and as such resided in Edinburgh for the next twenty- 
two years. In 1763 he went to be chaplain to the 
Duchess of Perth at Stobhall, with whom he continued 
till her death in 1772. 

Mr William Duthie was the next Superior at Scalan. 
This gentleman, while studying at Aberdeen in order 
to be an Episcopalian clergyman indeed he was 
already Deacon in that Communion was converted to 
the Catholic Faith, together with several others, by Mr 
Will. Shand, one of the most zealous and successful 
missionaries we had. Mr Duthie studied Divinity at 
Paris, was ordained priest, and in 1742 got direction of 
the Seminary. 


In this year there met at Scalan Bishop Gordon, its 
founder, Bishop Macdonald, Mr James Grant, later 
Bishop, and the other administrators. Indeed at this 
period Scalan was frequently the meeting-place of the 
bishops and administrators. It was here that the 
meeting of 1733, which had such important results, was 

In the summer of 1745 Bishop Gordon paid his dear 
Scalan the last visit. He died on 17th January, O.S., of 
the year following at Thornhill, near Drummond Castle. 
Bishop Gordon was the founder of Scalan ; for nearly 
thirty years he had cherished it with the greatest care, 
and in the end he made it his heir. 

Soon after the death of the good bishop, Scalan was 
laid in ashes, for as soon as the Duke of Cumberland 
saw that his victory at Culloden was entirely decisive, 
he sent out parties on all hands to extinguish (as was the 
language then) the remains of the Eebellion. One of 
these parties entered Glenlivet and soon directed their 
course to Scalan. This visit had been expected. Mr 
Duthie had dismissed all the students another old 
account has it, " he changed their dress, to put them out 
of the kennin." He had got all the sacred vestments 
and chalices, the books and even the movables carried to 
the most secret and safe place, and this was done with so 
much care that of these things very little was lost. On 
10th May the detachment of troops surrounded Scalan, 
and orders were immediately given for setting the house 
on fire ; nor was it long before these orders were executed. 
Mr Duthie, with a sorrowful heart, from one of the 
neighbouring hills, was looking down on the affecting 
scene. He saw his habitation surrounded by armed 


men, whom he knew to be full of barbarous fury. In 
a short time the smoking flames began to ascend, he 
could soon perceive the roof to fall in, and after a little 
there was nothing left but the ruins. This was to him 
and to many another a dismal sight, but the worst was 
that it seemed to be only the beginning of evils : they 
knew not what was to follow, nor where, nor when, 
these barbarities were to end. The entire extirpation 
of the Catholics of Scotland was loudly threatened, 
and was justly to have been feared, without the inter 
position of Divine Providence in their favour. 

When the soldiers had completed their work, and 
done all the harm they could at Scalan, they departed 
thence in order to carry terror and mischief to other 
places, and then Mr Duthie ventured to come down 
to take a nearer view of the ruin they had left. To see 
the very spot where he had lived for years, where he 
had taught, preached, and prayed, and even offered the 
Holy Sacrifice, reduced to ashes, must have been very 
afflicting to the good man. But he retained his courage, 
and during the next year and a half he resided close 
by, and attended to the small crop at Scalan. In the 
summer of 1747 some of the houses were made fit for 
something of a dwelling, and then another house was 
built, but much inferior to the former, for it occupied 
only the ground on which the kitchen had stood before, 
and a little more. 

Before the summer of 1749 Mr Duthie had again 
some scholars, and in particular Mr John Gordon, who 
completed his studies in this country and was ordained 
by Bishop Smith. He was missionary in Glenlivet 
after the death of Mr John Tyrie (1755), for two 


or three years, and died of a fever in 1757 at Dunan, 
near Drumin. 

But though Mr Duthie was thus endeavouring to 
bring the Seminary of Scalan by degrees back to its 
former state, yet much prudence was necessary. For 
until the beginning of the war of 1756 there were 
almost always two parties of soldiers stationed in 
Glenlivet, who had express orders to seize the priests 
wherever they could find them ; and they expected a 
reward for finding them. Hence it was that, even in 
the year 1752, there was a strict search made at Scalan 
for Mr Duthie in the night ; but he had been forewarned 
of his danger by the sergeant or his wife, who were 
quartered in Deniemore. And it chanced, not only on 
this, but on many other occasions, that the soldiers, in 
hopes of some reward, which was always liberally given 
them, let fall some hint, or dropped some letter, as if it 
had been by accident, that so the persons aimed at 
might be put on their guard. It may be here observed 
that those who have seen only the present times of 
peace and safety in our country, cannot easily form 
to themselves a just idea of those past troubles, nor 
have a strong enough sense of the reasons we have to be 
thankful for the calm which the Catholics now enjoy. 

Mr Duthie continued at Scalan until the summer of 
1758, when he became Prefect of Studies at the Scots 
College, Paris. He had under his care after the battle 
of Culloden, Mr John Gordon, above mentioned, Mr 
Alex. Geddes, Mr Alex. Kennedy, and many others. 

Mr William Gray was the next Superior. He was 
born in Strathbogie and had been converted to the 
Catholic Faith. He had taught in various gentlemen s 

VOL. I. c 


families, and was ordained Deacon by Bishop Smith, 
bub I do not find that he was ever advanced to the 
priesthood. Whilst Mr Gray was Superior at Scalan, 
an extraordinary visit was made to it by two Protest 
ant parsons, who were sent in 1760 by the General 
Assembly to observe and bring them an account of 
the state of religion in the Highlands and Islands 
of Scotland. They did not indeed so much as alight 
from their horses at Scalan, but after having spoken 
for a little while with Mr Gray, who had expected 
their coming and had invited them into the house, they 
rode off expressing their surprise that so great a noise 
should have been made about a place that made so poor 
an appearance and seemed of so little consequence. 1 

Besides some others Mr Gray had for scholars at 
Scalan John, Alex, and William Gordon, of the families 
of Clashmoir, Minmore, and Lettoch in Glenlivet, and 
Alex. Cameron from Braemar, a grandnephew of Mr 
Thomas Brockie, who had been a very active and 
successful missionary in the parishes of Cabrach, Glass, 
Mortlach, and Aberlour (or Skirdeston). These four 
Mr John Geddes found in the house when he removed 
from Shenval in 1762, and others he received in the 
following year, especially John Paterson, who in 1777 
had charge of the Seminary. 

In the same year, 1763, a renewal of the subtack 
of the small farm was obtained from Mr Grant of 
Kothmaes, and indeed this gentleman and his father, 
Mr Grant of Tomvullin, had been all along friendly 
to Scalan, and though they were often solicited, 

1 A copy of this report may be seen in the Register House, Edinburgh, 
where facilities for perusing it were kindly afforded by Rev. John 
Anderson, the Curator. 


especially by the Presbyterian parsons, not to allow 
such a popish school to be on their property, yet they 
never yielded in the least to threats or importunities, 
but always continued to give what assistance and pro 
tection they could to the Seminary, and even gloried in 
doing so. The father had the happiness to be converted 
to the Catholic Faith in his last illness, and was assisted 
at his death by Mr George Gordon, of Scalan, as he was 
wont to be called. 

About the same time Scalan got an addition to its 
small revenues by there being applied to it about 12 
a year, whereof the one half was a benefaction granted 
by Pope Clement XII. for the education of Scots 
Catholic boys designed to be sent to the colleges 
abroad, and the other half is the interest on a part 
of 10,000 crowns given by King James VIII. to be 
employed by Cardinal Spinelli in the way he should 
judge most expedient for the advancement of the 
Catholic religion in Scotland. An equal sum was 
granted to the Western Vicariate at the same time 
for the same end. 

Whilst on the subject of financial matters it may be 
remarked that at this period the cost of each pupil at 
Scalan was 6 a year, as stated by the Bishops to 
Cardinal Spinelli, of whom they were begging still 
further alms. 1 

On 4th August 1764 Alex. Cameron and John 
Gordon set out from Scalan for Some, and Alex. Innes, 
of the Balnacraig family, departed with them in order 
to go to the Scots College, Paris. Their places were 
filled by John Farquharson and James Cameron. 

1 Bishop Geddes s MS. Notes. 


Here, however, Bishop Geddes s account stops, so that 
the remainder has to be supplied from other sources. 
We learn indeed that Scalan was a charge singularly 
congenial to the gifts of the future bishop, although 
its hardships and privations severely tried his constitu 
tion. He found the students living in a hovel, where 
we may be sure the interests of education could not 
thrive. Mr Geddes applied his energies to remedy 
discipline; study and economy went hand in hand, 
and a brighter day seemed opening for Scalan. He 
had a number of youths in readiness for the demands 
of the Foreign Colleges greater than was required. He 
by and by transferred his community from the hut 
where he had found it to a convenient house on the 
opposite or right bank of the Crombie, and about 
seventy yards from the river. Additions were made to 
the house by subsequent superiors, till at the period 
of Bishop Hay s arrival the last improvements were in 

In 1767 the lease of the little farm was renewed for 
seventeen years and a new house was built ; but Mr, 
later Bishop, Geddes did not stay long to enjoy the 
new premises. On 7th December of that year he was 
succeeded by Mr John Thomson, who remained as 
Superior till 1770, when he was succeeded by Mr John 
Paterson. In 1784 the charge of Superior was taken 
over by Mr Alex. Farquharson, who was succeeded in 
1794 by Mr James Sharp, who still was Superior, 
under Bishop Hay, when the Seminary in 1799 was 
removed to Aquhorties. 

But to go back a short time, 19th May 1769, being 
Trinity Sunday, was an eventful day in the history of 


Scalan. In this remote little spot Bishop Hay, who 
was to do so much for the Catholic Church of Scotland, 
was consecrated by Bishop Grant, the two Bishops 
Macdonalcl being his assistants. The consecrating 
bishop had spent his boyhood within its walls and 
could recall the original building almost entirely 
of turf as it was in 1720, whilst one at least of the 
assistant bishops, viz. Bishop Hugh Macdonald, had 
been the very first of its scholars. 

At the meeting of the administrators at Scalan in 
1779 a matter of peculiar interest was treated of. It 
was the proposal made by Bishop Hay of praying by 
name for King George III, Ever since the Eevolution 
of 1688 the Catholics of Scotland prayed indeed for 
the " King," but it was well understood that this King 
was the lineal representative of the Stuart family; 
and until within a few years of the present period it 
would, by the great majority of the Scottish Catholics, 
be considered wrong to pray for any other. Now 
people s sentiments had changed; they argued on the 
subject, and concluded that it was neither prudent nor 
reasonable that they, who were comparatively a mere 
handful, should oppose the general voice of a whole 
nation in choosing the first magistrate. What gave 
more force to this consideration was, that the line of 
the Stuarts might be looked upon as extinct. It is 
true Prince Charles and his brother Henry were still 
in life ; but both of them were far gone in years and 
had no successors. The younger brother, Henry, was 
not only a Cardinal, but also a Bishop. The elder 
brother, Charles, who had been married for several 
years, had no children. It was universally allowed 


that, after the death of the two brothers, who might 
then be considered as politically dead, the reigning 
family ought to be acknowledged as lawful heirs to the 

The proposal met with little opposition, even from 
the Highland clergy, who were supposed to be the most 
attached to the Stuarts, and a mandate was issued to 
all the Scottish missionaries to mention King George 
and his Koyal family, and recommend them to the 
prayers of their respective congregations. 

The " Brief Historical Account of Scalan " thus con 
cludes : " The time by the goodness of God will 
come, when the Catholic religion will again flourish 
in Scotand; and then, when posterity shall enquire, 
with a laudable curiosity, by what means any sparks 
of the true faith were preserved in those dismal times 
of darkness and error, Scalan and the other colleges 
will be mentioned with veneration, and all that can be 
known concerning them will be recorded with care, and 
even this very account which I give you, however 
insignificant it may now (1777) appear, may one day 
serve as something of a monument of our Church 
history, transmitting down to future ages the names 
of some of those champions who stood up for the cause 
of the Church of God." 

But if the " Historical Account " can claim to be of 
interest, the building itself cannot fail to excite the 
veneration of all who visit it. The plans here given 
were made from measurements on the spot, but there 
is no doubt that the various rooms were at different 
times put to different uses. The buildings, as shown 
on the plan, were no doubt completed by degrees, and 

of ground //o 





ultimately formed a compact little establishment, well 
suited to its purpose, and to the times. The whole 
property of about twenty acres was enclosed with a 
good dyke, while the buildings formed a square. On 
each side of the entrance gate the stone foundation 
of which, with hole for the bolt, may still be seen was 
a stout wall with sheds on the inside. On the north 
and south sides of the square were two long, narrow 
wings, whilst the main building stood at the far or 
east side. The walls at each side of the entrance gate, 
and the south wing have been removed, but their traces 
are still plainly to be seen. The main walls throughout 
are very thick, so that it was found impracticable to 
pierce them to make a door, when some recent altera 
tions were contemplated. Indeed it is wonderful how 
little alteration has taken place, which doubtless is 
largely due to the fact that the old house has for the 
past hundred years been in the possession of the same 
family, who have ever regarded it with veneration. 

Some years after the removal to Aquhorties Mr 
James Michie took the farm of Scalan from Mr 
Paterson. He had no children, but adopted the two 
orphan girls of his sister, and brought them up most 
carefully. They married, and in their turn brought 
up their children with the greatest care. The late 
Mr M Gregor, son of the elder sister, was well known 
for the veneration in which he held "The Scalan," 
and for the pleasure he took in preserving it ; whilst 
his sister has carried on the family tradition to the 
present day. 

Bishop Hay ever had a great liking for Scalan, 
and the Bishop s Well is still pointed out, as also his 


" Walk," shaded with trees, where he wrote the greater 
part of his works. There, too, "doun yon burn, ye 
ken," as my informant expressed it, is the students 
play-green and the pool in which their morning ablu 
tions were performed. 

As the venerable bishop wrote in 1799 : "I confess 
it causes me great regret to leave Scalan, where we 
have been so long, and where so many worthy 
missionaries have received at least part of their 
education"; so too the present writer leaves this 
subject with regret, for there are few spots which 
recall so many memories of the great difficulties which 
our forefathers had to face, and of the courage and 
perseverence by which they overcame them. 

But besides the chapel at Scalan, the Catholics of 
Glenlivet had often two other chapels, and almost 
always one. 

The earliest chapel of which I find mention is that 
used by Mr John Grant prior to the Eising of 1715. 
This was situated near Minmore or Castleton, at the 
junction of the rivers Avon and Li vet, but it is not 
heard of after that Eising. It may be that he used 
one or other of the old pre-Eeformation churches at 
Downan or at Nevie, as was done in the case of the 
neighbouring Strathavon, and also at Peterkirk, 
Strathbogie. The old chapel of Nevie was in the 
angle of the Nevie burn and the Livet, where faint 
remains of it can still be seen. Much of the building, 
however, was swept away in the flood of 1829, when 
numerous coffins were exposed to view. In 1794 the 
remains were very distinct, and it then bore the name 
of Chapel Christ. 


Already in 1745, at the time of the second Eising, 
there was a chapel near Tombae which was spared from 
destruction " on account of the neighbouring houses, but 
all that was within it was taken out and committed to 
the flames." At that time Mr John Tyrie was priest 
here, having been appointed to Glenlivet in 1739. He 
had joined Prince Charlie as Chaplain to the Glenlivet 
and Strathavon contingent under Gordon of Glen- 
bucket. He followed the Prince into England and 
left him only after the battle of Culloden, where he 
received two wounds on the head from a horseman s 
sword and got off with great difficulty. By lying 
concealed for many months he avoided being appre 
hended, though his house, books, etc., at the Bochle 
were burnt by a party of soldiers the same party, 
no doubt, who burnt the chapel furniture. Mr Tyrie 
died at Shenval, in Cabrach, in 1755. 

The next priest in Glenlivet was another prominent 
figure in the Catholic History of the 45. Mr George 
Duncan, who had charge of this district from 1758- 
1761, was imprisoned in 1746. He soon gained his 
liberty, however, and was sent by Bishop Smith to 
Carlisle to offer spiritual assistance to Macdonald of 
Kinloch Moidart, Macdonell of Tiendrish, and others, 
who lay under sentence of death. At the bishop s desire 
Mr Duncan went cheerfully upon this delicate and 
dangerous expedition of charity. He got admittance 
to the prisoners as a friend of theirs, heard their con 
fessions, as well as those of some English gentlemen 
who were in the same situation, communicated them 
to their great comfort, having carried with him the 
Blessed Sacrament for that purpose, and got safely 


out of the town and back to Scotland without any 
interruption; but an information had been lodged 
against him by the magistrates, and a search was 
made for him a few hours after his departure. 

At his first arrival to take charge of the Glenlivet 
mission Mr Duncan stayed at the Scalan, but in 
the autumn of 1759 he built a room for himself at 
Tornnavoulan. He was succeeded by Mr Guthrie, 
who " first took up his habitation at Upper Auchenraw, 
where Miss Margaret Tyrie dwells," and had charge 
of Glenlivet, Morings, and Glenrinnes. In 1768 he 
received as assistant Father Dominic Braggan, whose 
health, however, soon gave way, so that in 1772 he 
left the Scotch mission and returned to Ireland. 
From then till 1778 Mr Thomson had charge of 
Glenlivet, where he was succeeded by Mr James 
Macgillivray (1778-1785), Mr Carruthers (1786-1793), 
and Mr, later Bishop, Paterson (1793-1812). 

Meantime the chapel of 1746 had been replaced 
towards the end of the century by another, for the 
old Statistical Account (1794) states that "from the 
entrance to Crombie eastward and up Livet more 
than a quarter of a mile, is Caanakyle, where the 
popish priest resides, and where, on the bank of 
Livet, about 200 yards from the priest s house, is 
lately built l a new Mass-house, with stone and lime 
and slated." This chapel met with a violent end, for 
in 1829 the stream on the bank of which it was 
built rose most suddenly, and the greater part of 
the building was swept away ; the apse, however, 
still remains to show the former site. 

1 The exact date of the building was 1786. 


Mr Paterson was succeeded by Mr James Gordon, 
who built the present most picturesque chapel. His 
efforts, as he himself writes, "at collecting in the 
sister kingdom were not unsuccessful, and the building, 
of which the foundation stone was laid in 182*7, was 
so far advanced as to enable him to open the chapel 
for the celebration of divine service on Candlemas 
Day, 1829." The new chapel was built on very 
handsome lines for that period, as Mr Gordon expected 
that the Catholics from the whole glen, numbering 
at that time well over one thousand, would make this 
their parish church. When, however, Abbs Macpherson 
decided to build another church four miles further up 
the glen, and so save his countrymen the long walk 
in that inclement district, a third part of the Tombae 
chapel was used as a school, and continued to serve 
this purpose until new schools were built by the 
present incumbent. 

Mr James Gordon, who had built the Tombae chapel, 
died in 1842 and was buried within its walls. He 
was succeeded by Mr Kobert Stuart, who continued 
in charge of this mission for twenty years, and dying 
in 1861 was also interred within its sarced precincts, 
in which tablets have been placed to the memory of 
both these priests. 



" An honest man here lies to rest, 
As e er God with his image blest ; 
The friend of man, the friend of truth, 
The friend of age, and guide of youth. 
Few hearts like his with virtue warm d, 
Few heads with knowledge so informed." 


THB other church at present existing in Glenlivet 
owes its origin to the venerable Abbe Macpherson. 
To few men indeed has it fallen to be of greater 
service to the Catholic Church in Scotland, as the 
following notes, taken from the Scots Directory of 
1849, will show. 

Paul Macpherson was born of Catholic parents, at 
Scalan. His mother dying when he was but six years 
old, he was sent to a Catholic school at Clashmore, in 
Glenlivet. From it he was removed the year follow 
ing to a school kept by an old woman, who taught him 
to read, but whose own attainments did not extend to 
the art of writing. This he acquired from Mr, later 
Bishop, Geddes, who then presided over the seminary 
of Scalan. Indeed young Macpherson would willingly 
have entered there at once, but he had to wait until a 
vacancy occurred, as happened in June 1767. 

After two years at Scalan he was sent to Rome, but 


in 1777, before his studies were completed, his state of 
health was so precarious that he had to leave Eome 
and passed to the Scots College at Yalladolid, where 
his former patron, Mr Geddes, was Superior. Here he 
was soon restored to good health, and continuing his 
studies was ordained priest on Easter Monday, 1779. 
Very shortly after he left Valladolid for London, where 
he met Bishop Hay, with whom he travelled to 
Edinburgh. His first mission was that of Shenval, in 
the Cabrach, probably the wildest of the missions on 
the mainland of Scotland. There were four stations, 
Shenval, Braelach, Tullochallum, and Aberlour, in each 
of which Mass was said on successive Sundays. At 
the time of Mr Macpherson s arrival the number of 
Catholics did not exceed eighty, though some years 
before they had been ten times that number. At 
Shenval itself, where the largest number assembled, 
Mass was said in a barn, the chapel having been 
destroyed in 1746 ; in the other cases it was said in 
the largest farm - house available, as, indeed, was 
the custom all through the Highlands at this 

The very first summer after his arrival Mr 
Macpherson got a new chapel erected. Protestants, 
as well as Catholics, even the minister himself helped 
to provide the materials for the building. It was a 
decent place of worship considering the times, but 
there is now scarce a trace left of it, and the congrega 
tion is dispersed. Under Strathbogie an account is 
given of how Mr Macpherson, being called to assist a 
dying person in the middle of winter when the snow 
was very deep, was warned by his guide against falling 


down a chimney, as the path along which they were 
walking led them over the top of the dwelling. 

Despite the rough climate Mr Macpherson was sorry 
to be called in the following year to Aberdeen, and 
indeed the keenness of the easterly sea air was too 
much for his constitution, enfeebled as it had been by 
his dangerous fever in Kome. He accordingly removed 
to Stobhall in 1783 and remained there till 1791, when on 
his appointment as Procurator for the Mission he went 
to reside in Edinburgh. In 1793 Mr Macpherson was 
nominated by the Bishops, Agent of the Scottish 
Mission in Eome, and in August of that year he left 
Scotland to assume the duties of his office, and con 
tinued for many years to transact with the Holy See 
all the ecclesiastical business of the mission. 

But the quiet missioner from the Braes of Glenlivet 
was also to take his part in some of the incidents of the 
stormy period which followed the French Kevolution. 
Soon after General Berthier, by order of the French 
Directory, had taken possession of Rome in February 
1798, and had carried off Pope Pius VI., it was deemed 
advisable that the Scotch students should return home, 
and Abbe* Macpherson accompanied them to England. 
It was then that occurred one of the most remarkable 
circumstances in his varied career. His long residence 
in Italy and his personal acquaintance with His 
Holiness induced the British Government to select 
him as their Agent in an enterprise no less bold than 
it was perilous, and which even as yet (1849) is scarcely 
known to the historians of the period. 

In that year the British Cabinet received a suggestion 
as to the practicability of rescuing from the despotism 


of France, and placing under the protection of England, 
the person of the Pope, then a prisoner in the maritime 
town of Savona, on the Genoese coast. An English 
frigate was ordered to cruise off the land, and Abbe* 
Macpherson was despatched from London with ample 
powers and funds to accomplish the object. He was 
to contrive some method of communicating with the 
Pope, in order to apprise him of the plan laid for his 
liberation. The town was to be bombarded; a signal 
was to be hoisted on his residence that no guns might 
be pointed in that direction. Amidst the confusion 
and alarm which the firing would inevitably cause, the 
Pope was to be hurried in disguise to the shore, where 
boats, well-manned, were to be in readiness to convey 
him on board the frigate. The plan would have been 
successful in all its arrangements, had not information 
disclosing the whole been sent to Paris, by parties in 
the pay of the Directory, from the neighbourhood of 
Downing Street. Abbe Macpherson was arrested, 
plundered, and cast into prison ; and Pius VI. died 
the next year at Valence, in the interior of France, 
whither he was instantly removed. 

About this time (1798) Abbe* Macpherson was 
mainly instrumental in securing the most valuable 
of the Stuart papers for the Prince of Wales, after 
wards George IV. By order of the Prince they were 
purchased by Sir John Hippesley and then consigned 
to the British Vice-Consulate at Civita Vecchia; but 
that town having meantime fallen into the hands of 
the French, their removal became impracticable. Signer 
Bonelli, an Italian gentleman resident in London, was 
sent out to attempt their recovery; and on reaching 


Rome, he applied to the Abbe* Paul Macpherson, of the 
Scots College. This was a matter of much delicacy, 
no British subject being then permitted by the French 
authorities to approach the coast. The Abbe*, however, 
contrived to obtain a passport to Civita Vecchia, and 
having ascertained from the Consul where the papers 
lay, he applied to the Commandant of the place for 
leave to search among them for certain documents 
required in a litigation in Scotland. The Commandant 
desired to see them, and happening to take up a 
transcript of King James II. s Memoirs, exclaimed, 
that as the papers seemed of no consequence, having 
been already published, the Abbe might dispose of 
them as he thought fit. Under this permission they 
were sent to Leghorn, and thence shipped to Algiers, 
whence they reached England. 1 

After his liberation from the imprisonment mentioned 
above, Abbe* Macpherson came to Scotland and remained 
in charge of the Huntly Mission till 1800, when it was 
determined that he should resume his post at Borne 
and endeavour to save what he could of the property 
of the College and take care of it. He arrived in Kome 
in June 1800. After the second occupation of the city 
and the seizure and exile of Pius VII. by the French 
General, Kadet, the good Abbd undertook another 
journey to this country in 1811. 

On the restoration of Pius VII. to his dominions, 
the Abbe* returned again to Rome. Besides being 
Agent to the Scotch Vicars Apostolic, he was for 
some years employed in the same capacity by those of 
England. He exerted himself to effect the re-establish- 

1 Quarterly Review, 1846 Stuart Papers. 


ment of the Scots College, and having saved what he 
could of its former property, managed its vineyards and 
everything else with much prudence. Previous to the 
inroads of the French, and after the suppression of the 
Jesuits, the College had been under the direction of 
Italian ecclesiastics ; he succeeded in obtaining from 
the Holy See that it should in future be governed by 
superiors from Scotland, and he was himself appointed 
the first Scottish Rector ; however, it was only in 1820 
that the first students were sent to it. 

In 1822 the Abbe came to Scotland intending to 
remain for some time, but before he had reached this 
country, Mr James Macdonald, under whose charge 
he had left the College, died suddenly, and then Mr 
Macpherson had to retrace his steps. Five years later, 
in 182*7, the Abb^ again set out for Scotland and put 
in execution a plan he had long had at heart. Since 
the removal of Eev. James Sharp from Scalan to 
Aquhorties in 1808 there had been but one chapel and 
one clergyman in Glenlivet. As this district is of con 
siderable extent, being about fourteen miles in length, the 
population of the higher and more remote part, which 
is almost exclusively Catholic, was subjected to great 
inconvenience for receiving instruction, and attending 
the duties of their religion. How considerable, to say 
the least, these inconveniences were, may be judged 
from the fact that as there was no bridge over the 
Livet, all the good folks from the Braes the woman 
kind, at least walked barefoot till they crossed the 
river, doing similarly on the return journey. To 
remedy this evil Abbe* Macpherson set about erecting 
a new chapel and schools for the benefit of his country- 

VOL, I, D 


men. 1 Accordingly, having obtained from the Duke 
of Gordon, to whom he had been of service in Eome, a 
central though barren spot of ground of about 10 acres, 
he raised upon it a neat and commodious chapel, seated 
for about three hundred persons, and a dwelling-house 
for the clergyman, together with good farm buildings. 
He not only erected these, but supplied them with all 
the necessary vestments and furniture, and the whole 
at his sole expense, receiving no assistance from any 
quarter but what the people of the country gave him 
in the carriage of materials for the building. He also 
improved the piece of ground attached to the chapel, 
a part of which he laid out as a cemetery for the use 
of the congregation. In 1832 he built schools which 
have ever since been in operation. These having been 
accidentally burned in 1835, he provided the means 
of rebuilding them. Many other instances might be 
cited of his love of country of his anxiety for pre 
serving in it the lamp of religion. 

But previous to this date, viz., in 1834, the good 
Abbe", now in his seventy-eighth year, was again sent 
out to Eome in consequence of the sudden death of 
Mr Angus Macdonald, Kector of the Scots College 
there. The aged Abbe could give the College little 
more than a nominal supervision. He was, however, 
spared to see yet twelve more years, and then he 
gradually grew more and more feeble, till at length the 
whole system gave way and he expired, in sentiments 
of the most fervent piety and hope, on 24th November 

1 It is interesting to note that long before this, Mass had been said 
at intervals at Lettoch, a farm about half a mile from the new chapel. 
At this early period the Gordons of Minmore occupied Lettoch, a fact 
which easily accounts for its being selected for the station. 


1846, in the ninety-first year of his age, and the sixty- 
eighth of his priesthood. To few is it given to reach 
so advanced an age ; few also can look back upon years 
so well spent as his were. Having amassed some 
money as the well-earned reward of the ability he dis 
played in the various affairs which he was employed to 
transact, he spent the whole of it for the benefit of 
religion in the manner already described, and it may 
be said of him that he died in apostolic poverty. 

Mr Macpherson, even when he was living in G-lenlivet, 
was unable from infirmity to take any active part in 
the mission work. "He rode a bit sheltie and lookit 
after the work," being from all accounts most active 
in his supervision of the smallest details. He is still 
remembered as having brought the first rosary beads 
seen in Glenlivet, and my informant has not forgotten 
how as a wee lassie her first idea was to put them 
round her neck as a new ornament ; but the pious old 
man soon put this right. " Don t wear them over your 
clothes, my dear, but under them, and when tending the 
cattle, just tell yer beads, and all sorts of good will 
come to you." These words remind me of the quaint 
lines : 

"Be of gud prayer, quhen scho may, 
And heir Mess on the haly day ; 
For mekill grace comes of praying 
And bringeth men ay to gud ending. 

"And in the kirke kepe o er all things 
Fra smyrking, keking, and bakluking, 
And after noyne on the haly day 
Owthir pray or sport at honest play." 


The first priest who had charge of the mission thus 
established by Abb4 Macpherson was Mr M Naughton, 
who remained till 1834. He was succeeded by Mr 
William Dundas, who at Chapeltown died of fever 
in 1838. Next followed Mr Charles Gordon, himself 
a Glenlivet man, being born at Clash more, half a mile 
from the chapel. But the priest who has left his 
name most markedly in the glen is Mr James Glennie, 
who was priest there for three-and-thirty years. He 
was a most exemplary man, greatly beloved by rich 
and poor. It was at his request that the Duke of 
Eichmond and Gordon made the road from the Pole 
Inn three miles up the glen a work which has been 
an untold blessing to the inhabitants. At the time 
this road was made the Braes resounded with the 
praise of Mr Glennie, in the following parody: 

" If you d seen these roads before there were any, 
You d hold up your hands and bless Mr Glennie." 

At his suggestion also the Duke planted large tracts 
of ground which had hitherto been useless waste. 
Nevertheless, he has left behind him the name of 
being a severe scolder. The son of a soldier, he was 
doubtless a strict disciplinarian. Other priests who 
are known to have laboured in this mission are Mr 
Peter Frazer (1718), Mr George Duncan (1746-1757), 
and Mr James Carruthers (1785-1794). 

An interesting paragraph occurs in the Statistical 
Account of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1794. "Besides the 
churchyard of the parish, there are two other burying- 
places, one upon the east side of Livet, near four miles 
from the parish church, near the walls of the old 


chapel of Downan ; and another, almost five miles higher 
up the glen, on the west side of the Cromby and 
opposite the Bochel. It is called The Buiternach/ 
and was consecrated more than forty years ago, by 
two popish bishops, to be a burying - ground for the 
Catholics; but few are as yet buried in it." 

The church, built by the venerable Abbs , had been 
used for seventy-five years when the present incumbent 
of the mission found means to replace the old chapel 
by a larger and more substantial building, of which 
the decoration and fittings show great taste, and form 
an interesting comparison with the simplicity of " The 

The little seminary of Scalan and the brave missioners 
who issued from it have seldom received their well- 
merited praise in more touching terms than those used 
by the Eight Eev. Bishop Chisholm, on the memorable 
occasion of the opening of New Blairs, 23rd October 
1901. The description, cited by him, of the old house, 
and the lesson to be learned from it, were as follows. 
Scalan was a house of two stories and an attic 
thatched, as was then the custom about fifty feet in 
length and sixteen in width. . . . We entered it from 
the court by the only door in the middle of the west 
side of the house. A narrow passage connects both 
ends of the house with the entrance door. To the left 
at the end of this passage was Bishop Hay s room, 
with a small closet attached where he kept his books. 
In this room he consecrated Bishop Macdonald in 
1780. Next door to the Bishop s room was Mr Geddes s 
room. On the right of the entrance was another 
chamber, which served as the boys chapel in the 


morning, their refectory at noon, and their study room 
during the rest of the day. None of the rooms in the 
house had any ceiling but the flooring of the room 
above, with the rafters exposed, Nearly opposite the 
entrance was a steep narrow staircase, little better than 
a ladder, leading to the boys dormitory immediately 
over the school, and thence by a shorter ladder to the 
attic above. At the other end, over the Bishop s room, 
was the private chapel, sixteen feet by ten, where the 
Blessed Sacrament was reserved. On the right hand 
was another small room and bedroom combined for 
a master. The lavatory was the running stream of 
the Crombie. The college routine was the same as in 
other colleges, except that the boys time for study was 
frequently broken into by their being called upon to 
take part in the operations of the farm attached. 

This work on the farm, which is elsewhere often 
referred to as a necessary evil in the life of Scalan, was 
doubtless one of those to which the Bishop referred 
when in a later part of his speech he said : " No doubt 
the obstacles which the old students had to encounter, 
and the hardships they had to bear, brought out the 
best traits in their characters, and made them the 
men they were, and the men they are, a priesthood of 
which any country might be proud." 


"The waters of Avon so fair and clear 
Would deceive a man of a hundred year." 

THE river Avon, to which this quality of extraordinary 
transparency is ascribed, issues from the north-east 
end of a small loch of the same name, which lies at 
an elevation of 2,250 feet above sea -level, and is 
immediately overhung by the steep and almost mural 
masses of Cairngorm (4,084 feet), Ben Macdhui (4,296 
feet), and Ben Mheadoin (3,883 feet). The river 
flows nearly thirty miles before it falls into the Spey at 
Ballindalloch, the greater part of this distance being 
within the Parish of Kirkmichael, though the last 
two miles are in the Parish of Inveravon. About half 
way along its course the Avon passes the village of 
Tomintoul, now a flourishing little town, although it is 
not much more than a hundred years ago since the 
site of the village was a bleak and barren moor. From 
its exposed situation, and having no woods near it, 
it still often looks bleak enough. This is, however, 
scarcely to be wondered at when we remember that 
it is at the highest elevation above the sea, and at the 
furthest distance from the sea of any village in Scotland 
of the same extent and population (New Statistical 

The whole of Strathavon was long known for its 


fidelity to the ancient Faith, the Laird of Ballin- 
dalloch in 1671 being prosecuted, along with Gordon 
of Carmellie and Gordon of Littlemill, for harbouring 
priests, and being present at Mass. By degrees, how 
ever, the lower portions of the glen gave way and 
conformed to the new religion, but the more remote 
have ever remained true to their former tenets, and 
have, along with the sister glen, Glenlivet, been a 
secure shelter for the persecuted clergy and a constant 
source of supply from which to refill its ranks, as will 
indeed be seen from the following pages. 

Although it was not till the year 1610 that the new 
religious ideas obtained much of a footing in Inveravon, 
yet the period between 1638 and 1660 was the most 
trying time throughout Scotland for both priests and 
people. This was the time when the Covenanters were 
in the ascendant. Several of the nobles were frightened 
into the new religion, and many of the landed gentry 
had to seek an asylum in foreign countries until the 
storm had blown over. Towards the end of this period, 
however, that is, between 1653 and 1660, we learn that 
"the number of conversions amongst the people was 
so great, especially in Strathavon, the district nearest 
to the Highlands, and in Strathbogie, that in the former 
place more persons, and these of better condition, 
assist at the venerable Catholic mysteries than at 
the profane worship of the heretics." 1 Whilst the 
same author gives part of the report to Propaganda 
of the Prefect Eev. Mr Dunbar who in 1668 writes : 
"The Catholics hold their services in private houses, 
where sermons are preached, and the sacraments are 

1 Bellesheim IV. 348. 


administered ; in the Highlands, however, this is done 
with much greater freedom. Not a single church is 
at the disposal of the Catholics, but Mass is said and 
sermons are preached either in private dwellings, or 
in some cases, as in the Highlands and in the Hebrides, 
in the open fields." 

At the close of the seventeenth century we have the 
authority of two Protestant writers that Strathavon 
and Glenlivet were generally or almost wholly Catholic. 
Sir Eobert Sibbald, of Kippis, describing Speyside in 
1680 says : " The people here (Strathavon) are more 
rude than in any other place or waterside that runneth 
into the Spey ; generally both in this country and in 
Glenlivet they have fallen to Popery." A little later 
(1689) Major-General Mackay states that he had three 
ways of retreat, either towards Inverness, or down 
Speyside, or through Strathdown and Glenlivet. The 
latter he would have preferred to the other two, but 
says " he durst not resolve to march through an enemy s 
country, all Papists, with an enemy four times his 
number in his rear." 

For many years Strathavon and Glenlivet were under 
the charge of the same missionaries, of whom the first 
to be known by name is a Mr Trayner, who came to 
this mission from Ireland and who probably remained 
here until 1694. From 1699 to 1704 Mr James 
Kennedy was in charge of the Strathavon and Glen 
livet mission, where he died most deeply regretted 
after he had spent but five years, during which he 
laboured with great zeal and fruit. During these years 
Inveravon was attended to by Mr Thomas Innes, who 
in 1701 was sent to the Scots College, Paris, in the 


capacity of Prefect of Studies. The next priest in 
these districts is Mr John Gordon, who in 1716 
removed from the lower parts of Glenlivet to the 
higher, where he would be more secure in the troublous 
times which followed the Jacobite Eising of 1715. 
He was followed by Mr Peter Fraser (1718-1720), 
who had been a Dragoon, but had been converted 
whilst lying in hospital on the Continent. Here the 
conduct of those who attended him caused him to 
examine the Catholic religion, and later to become a 
Catholic. After two years he went to the West 
Highlands. He was followed by Mr Alexander Grant 
(1725-1737), one of the Grants of Auchlichry, who 
took up his residence at Clashmore in Glenlivet. 
Although Mr Grant remained in the district until 
1743, he was incapacitated for work about the year 
1737. Ten years previous to this time Strathavon 
and Glenlivet became separate missions, each with 
a priest of its own. Father Donald Brockie (1727- 

1730) appears to have been the first priest with the 
sole charge of Strathavon, or Strathdown as it was then 
called. He was followed by Father Eobert Grant (1730- 

1731) and Mr James Duffus (1731-1735). Father 
Kobert Grant was a Benedictine monk from the Scots 
Monastery of Eatisbon. So also was Mr Donald 
Brockie, aforementioned, whilst amongst other names 
from Strathavon are those of Father (Kilian) Grant, who 
came on the mission in 1731 ; Father William (Erhard) 
Grant, from Tombreak ; Father Lewis (Maurus) Grant, 
from Auchlichry, besides those in later years. At this 
early date there seems to have been a specially close 
connection between Eatisbon and Strathavon. 


The statement that Mr Alexander Grant was in 
capacitated for work affords a favourable opportunity 
for inserting the following, hitherto unpublished, 
account of the life of the missionaries in the High 
lands at this time. In 1732 Bishop Gordon thus 
writes to Propaganda: "There is not one of the 
missionaries but does more than three could do with 
any degree of convenience. Of this, however, they 
do not complain ; their zeal for the glory of God and 
the salvation of souls make such fatigues easy to 
them. But to be in real want of the most pressing 
necessaries of life is too much for human nature to 
bear. How often, since I had the charge of this 
mission, with the heart pierced with the deepest grief, 
have I known these truly Apostolic men, after travel 
ling the whole day through snow and rain from one 
village to another, assisting the sick, instructing the 
converts, and comforting the distressed, retire at night 
to their miserable habitations, where they had neither 
fire nor meat to relieve oppressed nature. Many have 
the heroic charity to lose their lives under these miseries 
rather than abandon their charge. But this cannot 
be expected of all." 

The next priest in succession was Mr William Grant, 
who would seem to have been made of very tough 
material. In 1736 Mr John Gordon, the Curator of 
Gordon, writes from Fochabers, 10th April, to Eobert 
Farquharson, Auchriachan at the Duchess of Gordon s 
sight and desire, informing him that his friend Mr 
William Grant was complained of for having said Mass, 
where the minister was wont to perform worship, and 
had performed the Office of the Dead in the Kirk and 


Kirkyard. Auchriachan was desired to use his influence 
with Mr William to avoid such practices, as might 
make it thought that those who had the management 
of His Grace s concerns give countenance to such 

In October of that year the Curator of Gordon 1 
again writes from Fochabers to Mr William Grant 
himself that he supposes Mr William is before this 
apprised of more particulars by Dr Gordon than 
Aberlour could inform him of ; that he thinks it 
prudent Mr William should leave that part of the 
country he is complained of staying in, that Dr Gordon, 
or some one of esteem with the Duchess of Gordon, 
should let her know that he was actually gone out 
of it, or that some of Mr William s friends might 
be put upon to write to the minister to know from 
him if Mr William was gone out of the country or 
not ; upon which the minister would acknowledge a 
plain fact, and this acknowledgment from the minister 
of Mr William s absence might be transcribed to Her 
Grace. He adds that it was his positive opinion that 
Mr William ought not to return, nor even be seen 
in that country, until he should concert with Dr 
James, who would not surely advise him to expose 
his own person, or give trouble to his friends. He 
concludes by telling him that he could do Mr William 
no further service than acquaint him of his danger, 
with his wife s humble respects. (The person here 
mentioned as Dr Gordon and as Dr James was the 
venerable bishop.) 

Another side of this matter is presented by the 
letter of Bishop Gordon (27th October 1736), who 


writes to Mr William Grant, in Glenlivet, that he 
the Bishop had been doing, and would do all in 
his power in this affair, and that they who had been 
hottest, were become cool, and would soon be easy, 
and that probably Mr William would be at liberty 
^o act according to his own zeal and prudence before 
Candlemas. The Bishop exhorts Mr William to comfort 
himself with the thought of being so happy as to 
suffer in such a cause, asserting that it was his exert 
ing so zealously his talents for the Propagation of the 
Faith that was the real cause of his being persecuted. 
He recommends to his care and zeal the poor destitute 
people of Glenlivet, who were in such a lamentable 
condition as to move the compassion of the hardest 
heart; he wishes that when he could, he would 
give some assistance to his own sorrowful people 
(in Strathavon), and to the people of Corgarff, who 
were so desirous of the spiritual food he offered 

Again in January 1737 the good Bishop writes to 
Mr Grant commending him for the good he was doing, 
and congratulating him on his having so well adjusted 
the intricate case of the people of Clashmore ; wishing 
also that Mr William might have some settled place 
in Strathavon, but scarcely thinking that the Duchess 
could be depended on ; he requires that he make some 
excursions into Glenlivet. 

Probably Bishop Gordon s forecast was correct, and 
the affair was hushed up. There was a great desire 
on the part of those in authority to leave the Catholics 
in the peaceful practice of their religion. But after 
the 45, matters altered completely, and the fear 


occasioned by the successes of Prince Charlie, together 
with the well-known preference of the large body 
of Catholics for a Stuart sovereign, made the very 
name of Catholic distasteful to those in high places. 
Accordingly Mr William Grant found himself in greater 
difficulties than ever. Here is the last chapter in 
his history as far as I have been able to trace it. 

From a copy of a memorial presented in the name 
of Mr William Grant to the Lord Justice Clerk and 
Lord Minto, Commissioners of Justiciary at Aberdeen, 
17th September 1750, it appears that the said Mr 
William Grant was apprehended in June of that year 
by a sergeant and two soldiers, in consequence of a 
misrepresentation made of him to an officer ; that 
he had been brought before Mr Alexander Grant, of 
Ballindalloch, and bailed for by Mr Will, and Mr John 
Gordon, of Minmore; that within a limited time he 
would be presented to stand trial under a Tailzie of 
50 sterling ; that he went into Aberdeen upon Citation, 
in order to save the Tailzie and in hopes of mildness ; 
that he confessed himself a priest " habite and requited " 
after having made an objection to the execution against 
him which was not signed by the officer ; and against 
the Court as not competent as the Statute commits 
the execution of the Act, on which the Indictment 
was grounded, to the Privy Council of Scotland, not 
now in being ; that verdict came in against the pannel 
guilty of the Indictment, and sentence was pronounced 
against him (17th September) to depart this kingdom 
before 18th October of that year, never to return 
under Pain of Death. 

This Mr Grant very nearly went out as chaplain 


in 1745. The circumstances, in the words of Bishop 
Geddes, were as follows : " Mr Gordon, of Glenbucket, 
raised all the men he could in Glenlivet and Strath- 
avon ; and as these were mostly Catholics, it was 
judged proper that they should have with them a 
priest for their chaplain ; wherefore Mr John Tyrie, 
who was the missionary in Glenlivet, and Mr William 
Grant, who was missionary in Strathavon, cast lots 
to determine which of them should go with the men, 
and which remain to have the charge of the two 
countries. The lot for going fell on Mr Tyrie, to 
the regret of Mr Grant. . . ." 

The chapel which Mr Grant used was between 
Findron and Auchriachan, where a " bonnie bit green " 
as my informant assured me can still be seen. 
There too is the priest s well, the water of which runs 
down the hillside to the Conglass just below. The 
position of this chapel is thus described : it was at 
the north side of the service road, where the service 
road is crossed by the road leading from the village 
over the bridge of Conglass, and on the east side of 
this latter road. 

When Mr William Grant left the district, Strathavon 
was under the care of Mr Geddes, afterwards Bishop 
Geddes, who was then at the Scalan. This arrange 
ment went on for a few years. Mr Geddes gives 
the number of Easter Communicants for the year 
1763 as 800 in Strathavon. At this period there 
were 1,100 Communicants in Glenlivet. 

In 1788 Eev. Donald Stuart erected the first chapel 
in the then rising village of Tomintoul. It was close 
to the present chapel, though a little nearer the street. 


Father Stuart was a native of Strathavon, where he 
laboured for over twenty years. 

That there really was a chapel at Auchriachan in 
recent times seems to be proved not only by the 
tradition of the district, but also by the following facts. 
We have indeed already heard a good deal of Mr 
William Grant, still, the account is very typical and 
therefore well worth recording. Amongst the letters 
of Mr Grant, who died in 1763 and had long been 
missionary in Strathavon, was one of Mr George 
Grant, of Clourie, dated 10th August 1736 and addressed 
to Donald Farquharson of Auchriachan, to the effect 
that some days before he had waited on both lairds 
of Grant, and spoken to them of the usage given to 
Mr William Grant by Mr George Grant, minister. 
Sir James Grant had promised to call Mr James 
Chapman, minister of Alves, and endeavour to put a 
stop to the trouble privately, by making Mr Chapman 
signify his (Sir James s) mind to Mr George Grant, 
the minister; Clourie had mentioned Mr William s 
services done to the Laird of Grant when in Glengarry, 
and what risks Mr William s father would have run 
for him. The laird said he was inclined to do all 
the service in his power to Mr William, but could 
not show himself in such a thing against the Duke 
of Gordon, in any public manner. 

Of the same date is an order to John Grant, factor 
of Strathavon and Glenlivet, signed by the Duke of 
Gordon, commanding those who were building a 
Mass-house near Auchriachan to desist, and requir 
ing that they pull down what they had built, the 
refusal of which should be at their peril, and the 


popish priest, William Grant, will do well (it is said) 
to take care of himself. 

The sympathy of the district seems to have been 
strongly in the good priest s favour, to judge from 
the words of the minister himself, who writes from 
Kirkmichael to the Curator of Gordon that the said 
Curator and Mr John Hamilton, when at Laggan, 
of Blairfindie, had not allowed him to "condescend 
on proofs" of the insolence of Mr William because 
the thing was notorious, and had promised that said 
priest should be removed never to return to his 
parish during his incumbency ; but that said priest, 
encouraged by his popish relatives, continued to exer 
cise his office, and therefore he, the minister, would 
be obliged to acquaint the proper authorities. 

Other priests of this period in this district were 
Mr John Keid (1764-1770), Mr John Thomson (1770- 
1772), Mr Alexander Cameron, later coadjutor to 
Bishop Hay (1772-1780), Mr John Farquharson, a 
native of the district (1781-1783), and Mr Donald 
Stuart (1783-1804). He was succeeded by Mr Alex. 
Badenoch (1804-1808), after which we come to the 
long incumbency of Mr Donald Carmichael (1808- 

It was no doubt he who was responsible for the 
following entry in the Scotch Directory of 1831 : 
"The chapel of Tomintoul, which was built forty- 
two years ago, having been found too small for the 
accommodation of the Catholic population of Strath- 
avon, amounting to about 600 souls, it was found 
necessary to erect a gallery, an undertaking which 
was executed with some difficulty by reason of the 

VOL. I. E 


lowness of the side walls." Indeed those who know 
the style of building of the Highland chapels a 
hundred years ago, will not doubt of the difficulty 
of getting a gallery to fit within its long low walls. 
The wonder is that such a task should ever have 
been attempted. At best it could have been but 
a temporary expedient, as in 1839 "was opened the 
new chapel, the erection of which was rendered, 
necessary by the threatened ruin of the former one." 
This chapel owes its existence to the exertions of 
the Bev. Donald Carmichael, its former rector, who 
with much labour realised the sum necessary to 
complete the structure. 

How great this labour was may be judged from 
the tradition, still existing in Strathavon, that it 
was sad to see the poor priest s hands, so worn and 
marked were they with carrying the bag of copper 
and of silver which he had gathered during the 
fifteen months he was absent collecting for the build 
ing. This is doubtless in great part true, as com 
munication was most difficult in these parts eighty 
years ago, and banking facilities were unheard of. 

A "terrible nice man" was Mr Carmichael, who 
besides the chapel which he left as a monument to 
his energy, is still remembered as a "particular fine 
farmer." When he was summoned to take the adminis 
tration of the temporalities of Blairs, a neighbour 
expressed his regret at Mr Carmichaers departure, 
and wished to know what sort of a farmer his 
successor was likely to be. " I nae doubt," said the 
good priest, "but that Mr Cameron will let out the 
mole and let in the dockin." 


It must, I think, have been during the building of 
the present chapel, that a room at Cults at the lower 
end of the village still called the priest s room 
was used for Mass. It was here that Mr Carmichael 
before his sudden call to Blairs last officiated in 
Tomintoul, for he said very regretfully, as is still 
remembered: "Yes, indeed I had a great work in 
building yon chapel, yet I never had the pleasure 
of saying Mass in it." 

Mr William Mackintosh (1838-1842) succeeded Mr 
Carmichael, and was in his turn succeeded by Mr 
James Eussell (1842-1852) and Mr Henry Gall (1852- 
1863), who built the first Catholic school in Strath- 
avon. When the Sisters of Mercy came to reside 
in Tomintoul, this school was assigned them as a 
Convent, and two cottages on the mission property 
were fitted as a school and continued to be used as 
such until the present up - to - date buildings were 

There had, of course, been schools of a sort in 
Strathavon previous to Mr Gall s time. For instance, 
Mr Charles Gordon, St Bridget, Strathavon, son of 
John Gordon, of Glenbucket, became a Catholic, and 
taught the Catholic children during Mr Carmichael s 
time in a school near the Bridge of Conglass. The 
school was either the old chapel or a building near 
it. But this Mr Gordon was dead a number of years 
before Mr Gall started the regular public school in 

Mr Gall is still spoken of with the greatest affection 
by the old people who in their childhood had hearkened 
to his lessons. Indeed the good priest was school- 


master as well as clergyman. It is said of him 
that " his heart was with the young," and that on 
leaving Tomintoul his parting wish was, that he 
might some day return and be buried with his 
children of Strathavon. 


" Oh, leeze me on the rock and reel 
Frae top to tae that deeds me bien, 
And haps me fiel and warm at e en, 
I ll sit me down and spin and sing, 
While laigh descends the summer sun, 
Blest wi content and milk and meal, 
Oh, leeze me on my spinning-wheel." 

SUCH is the delightful picture afforded us by Burns of 
the happiness and contentment of the country lass a 
century ago. Now surely in these days when there is 
so much talk of affording amusement to young people 
in the country districts in order to keep them at home, 
and to counteract the so-called attractions of the towns, 
it is well to take a look at the life in these country 
districts at the time when Burns wrote. That young 
people at that date were happy in their simple sur 
roundings is clear from the very vivid impression 
still left in the minds of the old people, who look 
back with the greatest pleasure on the happiness of 
those early days far more, it is to be feared, than 
the present generation will look back on the happi 
ness of their present surroundings. 

The truth is that the people of those days, young 
and old alike, were ever busy, ever usefully employed 



in providing for themselves some of the many neces 
saries of life, which they then produced by their own 
industry, but which are now bought at the shops. 
These industrious habits undoubtedly made the time 
pass swiftly and pleasantly. Moreover, the competition 
between members of a family, and between different 
families in a hamlet, led to the greatest interest being 
taken in these home products. Mrs Agnes Muirhead, 
whose apt quotations are inserted here, has well said i 1 
" To be able to spin well was an important accomplish 
ment, and there was often a keen rivalry amongst young 
women as to who could spin the finest yarn and make 
the best linen at a rocking. When lads and lasses 
came together in social glee, each of the latter brought 
to the merry meeting her spinning-wheel or rock. 
Yule, or Christmas, seems to have been a time for 
holidaying and feasting amongst the spinners, but all 
were supposed to begin again at their accustomed work 
on 7th January, which was called St Distaff s Day, or 
Kock Day. 

" Yule has come and Yule has gane, 
And we have feasted weel ; 
Jockie s at his flail again, 
And Jeannie at her wheel. 

"Indeed nothing could exceed the industry of the 
women, both old and young, who lived in an age 
when carding, spinning, and bleaching were in fashion, 
and when the gudewife, to use the words of an early 


" Keepit close the hoose, and birrilit at the wheel. " 

1 " Scottish Home Industries," Lewis Munro, Dingwall. 


In few districts of the Highlands did the old customs 
survive longer than in Glengairn, but as many and 
very charming descriptions of them have appeared in 
numerous volumes it is needless to repeat them here. 
A few additional ones, however, are inserted in the hope 
that they will prove of interest. 

On Candlemas Day the people all brought to church 
candles dipped by themselves. Each house had a 
mould, but the candles made in it were not considered 
of such good quality as those made with the hand. 
Besides, there was at one time a tax on candles, with 
the result that these moulds had to be kept out of 
the gauger s way. The better way of making the 
candles was to fasten the wicks, five or six at a time, 
round a stick. The tallow was then melted and 
placed in water neither too hot nor too cold. The 
wicks suspended from the stick were dipped into the 
liquid tallow and then taken out, the process being 
repeated until the candles were the right thickness, 
when the thumb and forefinger were passed over them 
to give them a neat finish. 

At this time the crusie the old form of iron lamp 
was in common use, and a "grand light it did give." 
The best wick was the dry pith of the common rush, 
and three or four of these would often be plaited 
together. Train oil was most commonly used. 

The "casting" of the priest s peats was a day of 
great importance and no little fun. The people all 
gathered on the day appointed and went to the priest s 
moss, whilst the gudewives of the glen sent of their 
best for the dinner chickens and scones and abund 
ance of milk. The peats were cut and stacked the 


lads and lassies not scrupling at times to cast a turf at 
one another. At the end of the day the company re 
paired to the house, the barn was cleared, and the party 
ended the day with a festive dance, His Eeverence 
himself being there, well pleased to see the company 
full of mirth. 

When the peats were dry, the clerk announced the 
fact and begged the congregation to help to bring them 
home. In Glengairn Willie Kitchie, the clerk, is well 
remembered. He was almost as venerable-looking as 
the old priest himself. He would let all the people 
out of church, and then hastening outside himself 
would call out with an air of the greatest solemnity : 
"Eisdibh! Eisdibh! Tha moine n t-sagairt tioram an 
diugh ! " " Hearken ye ! Hearken ye ! The priest s 
peats are dry to-day " ; which meant that the good 
people were to come on the morrow to help to bring 
the peats to the house. Towards evening, as the 
loads of peat were known to be coming to an end, 
the company would assemble once again round the 
house. The last load was always brought in to the 
sound of the pipes, refreshments were served, and 
again there was a "wee bit dance." On a good day 
as many as fifty loads of peats would be brought in. 

Such meetings, however, had their due season, outside 
of which they dared not be held. The story is told 
how at a meeting in Lent the company greatly wished 
that " a wee dance " would end the proceedings. James 
Mackenzie was willing to pipe, but he had not his 
pipes with him. A lad was sent down to his house 
for them and requested them, of Mrs Mackenzie. The 
good woman was sore perplexed. She dared not refuse 


her husband the pipes, and she foresaw the wrath 
of Mr Mackintosh the priest if she co-operated in the 
breaking of Lent. She decided on a middle course, 
and handed the lad the pipes after removing the reeds. 
The company rejoiced as they saw their messenger 
return with the music, but their spirits fell when the 
chief parts were found to be missing. On the following 
Sunday Mr Mackintosh severely scolded the company 
at the meeting. " And you, James Mackenzie," said he, 
"who tried to play the pipes, kneel you out here in 
the middle." 

It was the duty of the clerk William Eitchie afore 
mentioned to light the candles. One of the resi- 
denters in the glen, herself a very old woman now, 
describes how she used to love to see the two venerable 
old men at the altar. She would, however, sometimes 
indulge in a little hypocrisy at William s expense. As 
he came in to prepare the altar for the priest, she 
would pretend to be praying so fervently as not to see 
him. Whilst the priest was vesting, William would 
need to light the candles. He would look round 
occasionally to see whether she would not go and fetch 
the coal in the days before matches. When she did 
not move, though indeed it was seldom that she did not, 
the old man was forced to fetch the coal himself. He 
would shortly after return and ascend the altar steps, 
when he commenced "to bla and bla and bla ," the 
sparks and ashes flying in all directions, until at last 
there was flame enough to light the candles. 

At this time the roof of the chapel was open, and 
showed the rude beams, whilst the altar was just a 
rough table. Some " of the folks had kneeling boards, 


but the maist of them prayed, kneeling on the clay 

Previous to 1828 there had been a teacher of music 
for the choir, but he had taught only hymns. At this 
date James Gumming, from Tomintoul, took the Glen- 
gairn choir in hand and taught them Masses by Eev. 
Mr Gordon, of Dufftown. Gumming had " a wand and 
a tuning fork, and I mind we used to sing the Dies 
Irce. There were good singers in Glengairn then, but 
there was no instrument." At this time the chapel 
in Aberdeen had a great name for music, the like was 
not to be heard in the whole country. 

Of the congregation it must be said that their simple 
piety cannot be too highly extolled. The life of many 
was very austere. Charles Durward used to fast very 
rigorously, and led the life of a hermit, leaving his 
dwelling only to do a neighbourly turn for some one, 
or to go to church. He was found dying in his lonely 
room, with a stone for his pillow. Several of the con 
gregation had the habit of fasting every Sunday till 
after Mass out of reverence for the Holy Sacrifice. 

But the person whose name was the most respected 
for sanctity was Margaret M Gregor Margaret of the 
Laggan, as she was called. She lived at the beginning 
of last century, and occupied a small hut near the 
Laggan burn. She employed her time spinning and 
carding, whilst on a small loom she made " gartans " 
which were thought to be so strong that no wear 
and tear would use them up. She also made ropes of 
rough wool, sent in by the neighbours, the ropes being 
used at clipping time to tie the sheep. Her shoes were 
made by herself of the same rough wool, and were some- 


thing akin to carpet slippers. The soles were of old 
cloths laid fourfold beneath the foot and sewn together 
with strong twine. Her gown was of blue homespun, 
and over it she habitually wore a grey cloak with a 
hood. Thus clad she was often seen walking over the 
hill the nine miles to the Corgarff chapel, for she seldom 
left her cottage save to go to Mass. Her food was of 
the simplest a boiled turnip over which she sometimes 
cast a handful of meal for her dinner. 

Margaret was well educated and had many books, 
whilst her piety was the admiration of the countryside ; 
all day long she worked and prayed at intervals. She 
had an hour-glass which told her the time for prayer 
and the time for labour, and she passed from her 
knitting to her prayers and from her prayers to her 
knitting as methodically as possible. " She composed 
and repeated constantly Gaelic prayers. I sometimes 
brought her meal or other food and learned these 
prayers from her own lips." She wasted away without 
any struggle, and was attended on her deathbed by 
Father Forbes. She had been for a long time helpless, 
crippled, and deformed by rheumatism. She is buried 
in the old churchyard of Dalfad, the family burying- 
ground of the M Gregors, from whom she was sprung. 

Of the schools and scholars of early days, some 
quaint memories survive. In 1820 one James 
Mackenzie was schoolmaster. He was a native of 
Delnabo, in Strathavon, and was the principal actor 
in the following little comedy which is given in the 
language in which it was described. " Mackenzie was 
tall, well-looking, and fresh, and though he had lost 
his right arm, could be very severe, I insure ye. One 


day Alex. Catanach went up wi a coont, and Mackenzie, 
enraged at a mistake in the coont, broke the slate over 
Sandy s heed and left the slate like a horse s collar 
round the laddie s neck. There were sixty or seventy 
bairns in the school at that time. Mr Mackenzie were a 
clever man though, if it were na that he wanted the 

Festern E en Shrove Tuesday was the day of the 
annual cock fight. As many as thirty birds would be 
brought in in one day. The best fighter was called the 
King, the second the Queen, the third the Knave. They 
that would not fight were called " fougie." There were 
no lessons that day, it was a day by itself. "What 
waps" continued the party above-mentioned "What 
waps the birds did gie. People came from far and 
near and stood in the school to see the fight. Each 
boy brought a bird and held it under his oxter, wait 
ing his turn to fight." 

The children all brought a peat each to the school, 
and they always tried to find a hard one, as on the 
way to the school there was often a " battle of peats." 
Probably this accounted for the peats being none too 
dry when at last they got to their proper destination, 
as the following would seem to show. " John Michie 
him that s noo a monk at Fort Augustus, ye mind had 
a school at Ardoch. He threesh in the morning, got 
his breakfast and went to the school. He wrought in 
the school a the morning on to three o clock. The 
school was always fu of reek jist a reeky hole. I 
never thought much of reek after that, we were a well 
learned to the reek ; it never fashed me after that." 
We shall have more to say about John Michie later, 


but must pass now to the priests who in succession 
had charge of the mission of Glengairn. 

" JRemember me to the people of Glengairn, 
Beginning with the fiddler," 

are lines which occur in the farewell poem which 
Mr John Macpherson 1 asserts was written by Mr 
John Owenson, the last priest in Braemar, whilst lying 
in prison in Aberdeen about the year 1606. The same 
author remarks that the local tradition is that the 
fiddler referred to was the priest of Glengairn, who 
went about as a strolling musician. This device was 
certainly practised in other parts, as it is well known 
in the Dumfries district that the priest Mr Francis 
Maxwell went about the streets of that town in the 
year 1706 playing the fiddle in order to have an oppor 
tunity of informing Catholics where Mass would be 

In 1704 a list of " Papists, Apostates (to Popery !), 
Popish priests, etc., was drawn up by the minister 
of the united parishes of Glenmuick, Tullich, and 
Glengarden," from which we learn that " Calam 
Griersone, alias M Gregor, of Baladar (Ballater), Papist, 
frequently receives popish priests such as Mr Kobert 
Seaton, . . . ; Mr John Innes, Jesuite ; Mr Eamsay, 

alias Strachane . . . ; Gordon, seminary priest, 

and Walter Innes, brother to Charles Innes, of 
Drumgask, Jesuite. The said Calam was leatly 
building a chapel for them, and erected a very high 
crucifix on a little hill near his house, to be adored by 
all the neighbourhood. He always keeps publick Mass 
and popish conventicles in his house and is such 
1 <( Catholicity in Glengaim," St Andrew s Cross. 


trafecter that flow or no Protestants that become his 
tenants, or servants, escape without being preverted 
by him." This good worthy was also accused of 
mimicking the Protestant minister at his preaching 
an offence which seems to have been taken more 
seriously than was probably justifiable. It was Mr 
Forsythe, the priest of Braemar, who seems to have 
reconciled Calam to the Church. 

In this year (1704), according to the Directory of 
1853, the above-mentioned Mr Innes was in charge of 
the mission of Glengairn. He was a cadet of the 
Balnacraig family, and his reception into the Church 
is thus described by Father Charles Farquharson: 
" Mr John Innes, missionary in Glengairn, whom I 
knew well, was a schoolmaster in the south, beyond 
Edinburgh. He was moved with great indignation, 
hearing that a great man there sent for a priest out 
of Edinburgh, and came to the great man s house to 
expostulate with the priest, since he durst not scold the 
sick. I wonder/ said he, how you priests come and 
delude people when they lose their judgment. Go 
immediately to his room/ replied the priest, and ex 
amine well whether he be in his sound judgment, and 
see convert him back again. This the other did not 
think proper to do, seeing he was told the gentleman 
was as sound in judgment as ever he was. They 
spoke a great deal together. Mr Innes asked the loan 
of a book ; was sent afterwards to the province of 
Champagne, became a Jesuit, and afterwards missionary 
in Glengairn, where he helped and converted many." 
After five years in Glengairn, he retired to the Scots 
College, Paris, where he became Superior. 


Mr Inneswas succeeded by Mr Gregor M Gregor, 
of the family of Ardoch and Dalfad in Glengairn, and 
son of the afore-mentioned Calam. Being not only a 
native of the glen, but also a brother of the proprietor, 
he acquired a greater influence in the country than 
any of his predecessors. He erected a chapel in the 
wood of Dalfad and also a dwelling-house for himself 
at a convenient distance. He. however, did not remain 
long in Glengairn, having returned to his monastery 
shortly after the unsuccessful Kising of 1715, though 
he was again on the mission in 1724 to 1728, when he 
was in Glengarry. In June 1730 he again returned to 
his monastery. 

To him succeeded Father Dunbar, S.J., who continued 
as missionary in Glengairn till 1734, when he was 
recalled by his superiors to the Continent, on account 
of his having shown " some premonitory symptoms of 
aberration of intellect." 

His place was supplied by Eev. Alexander Gordon 
of the Glencat family, near Aboyne, who continued 
to discharge his duties with great zeal and activity 
till the rising of the Jacobite party in 1745, when he 
attached himself, along with many of his flock, to the 
fortunes of Prince Charles Stuart. He was present 
at the disastrous defeat of Culloden, and was taken 
prisoner and lodged in the jail of Inverness, where 
he died about three weeks after a martyr, without 
doubt, to the misery and squalor which were the 
inseparable attendants of the dungeons used in those 
times as jails in Scotland. 

In consequence of the fierce persecution which 
occurred in Braemar after 1745, Mr Charles Farquharson 


came to reside in Glengairn and had both these parishes 
under his charge. He continued to serve these missions 
with great energy and success till 1781, when he retired 
to Braemar, where he died in 1799. 

The last two priests with whom we have to deal 
are Rev. Ranald Macdonell, who had spent but two 
years in the district when he was transferred to 
Glengarry, and Kev. Lachlan Mackintosh the Apostle 
of Glengairn who here spent no less than sixty-four 
years. This remarkable priest was born in Braemar 
in 1753. He was admitted to the seminary of Scalan 
18th July 1770, and in the November of that year he 
was sent to the Scots College, Yalladolid. He there 
completed his studies and was ordained priest at Segovia 
by the bishop of that city in February 1782. 

One incident of note distinguished his scholastic 
career. He was at college when the Duke of Wellington 
passed through Valladolid and slept a night at Boecillo, 
the country house of the college. The Duke offered 
a commission to any of the students if they would 
join the British Army. This temptation proved too 
strong for young Lachlan, who changed the college 
uniform for that of His Majesty George III. Not 
long after, however, he was attacked by fever, and 
as he lay at death s door, the life which he had 
forsaken at college recurred to him. He vowed that 
if he recovered, he would return to college; he did 
recover, and in fulfilment of his vow returned immedi 
ately to Valladolid, where his soldier s uniform was long 

After his ordination he returned to Scotland and took 
charge of the united missions of Glengairn, Corgarff, and 


Balmoral. He erected at Clashendrich a commodious 
chapel, not sparing even his own hands in the building 
of it. This chapel was still used by the congregation 
in 1853. He also raised funds sufficient to enable him 
to build a neat and comfortable house for the clergy 
man. For sixty-four years this indefatigable missionary 
laboured with the greatest zeal, and died in 1846 at 
the patriarchal age of ninety-three. He is interred in 
the ancient burying-ground at Foot of Gairn, and over 
his grave his congregation have raised a tombstone 
with an elegant Latin inscription to perpetuate the 
memory of a devoted clergyman, who spent more than 
half a century in administering the consolations of 
religion to a flock thinly scattered over one of the 
wildest and most inaccessible districts of Scotland. 
Such an instance of devotedness to the sacred duties 
of his calling, for such a length of time, in circum 
stances of much poverty, labour, and fatigue, is seldom 
met with. 

The truth of the above remark regarding the inclem 
ency of the district may be judged from the fact that 
at a somewhat later period it happened on two occa 
sions that at the Mass on Christmas Day, when every 
possible effort would have been made by the really 
earnest parishioners, only the server was able to be 
present with the priest at Mass. The snow was indeed 
waist high, and the nearest of the congregation would 
have a mile at least to walk. 

Like many another, Father Lachlan was unaware 
when old age had fairly incapacitated him for work, 
and resented not a little that Father Lamont should 
endeavour to assist him. One day the Sunday Mass 

VOL. i. F 


was at Corgarff, some nine miles across a steep hill, and 
Mr Lamont, then only home for a while from College, 
accompanied Father Lachlan. The aged priest rode 
his trusted " sheltie," and urged his companion to take 
a turn on the beast and so rest himself. The latter, 
however, preferred to walk rather than trust his limbs 
to the ancient roadster. Arrived at the chapel they 
found that the congregation had not yet assembled 
and that they must needs wait. Mr Lamont took the 
opportunity to make his confession : " And for your 
penance," said Father Lachlan, " you may ride back the 
whole way on my bit sheltie." 

All his life through Father Lachlan was " the life of 
company," and no doubt fully appreciated the follow 
ing. He used often to catechise his people, the elder 
and the younger alike. One day he asked an elderly 
young lady, whom people misjudged to be wanting in 
brains, "May Cameron, what is matrimony?" No 
answer; but the party to whom the question was 
addressed hung down her head and seemed to feel 
the question " awful sair " she had never had an offer 
of matrimony. "Come, come, May," said the priest, 
" what is matrimony ? " Again no answer. Then the 
priest became annoyed, and feared that others might 
also refuse to answer, so he repeated : " Come now, May, 
what is matrimony ? " The head was not raised, but 
from under the large straw hat came the unexpected 
answer : " Pheu, phen, you and your matrimony ; many 
a twa you ve putten together, and t were better they d 
never seen other." 

Once in each month Father Lachlan used to say 
the Sunday Mass at Corgarff, where he had himself 


built the chapel. Great was often his difficulty in 
crossing the Glasghoil, the long wild hill which separated 
it from Glengairn. In better weather it was the custom 
for the greater part of the Glengairn folk to walk 
across with him, and on these occasions they would 
recite the rosary as they went. An old parishioner, 
Luis Mackenzie, was telling this one day to one less 
acquainted with the district, who remarked what a 
beautiful custom that was. "Ah weel, sir," said old 
Luis, " wi j a the lads and lassies, it was often a gey 
roch rosary." 

The Catholics of Corgarff, who in 1794 numbered over 
one hundred, had long formed a numerous congregation 
by themselves, and had resident priests amongst them, 
of whom the best remembered is Father M Leod, alias 
M Hardy. He proved himself a great support to the 
Catholics in Corgarff during very trying times, and the 
people were greatly aggrieved when he was removed 
from their midst. He was a native of Corgarff, having 
been born at Ordachoy, a farm still in the possession 
of M Hardies, descendants of his brother s family. 
Father M Leod was held in great veneration by the 
Corgarff and Strathdon people, and being one of them 
selves he was protected and shielded by both Catholics 
and Protestants alike, and his hiding-places were never 
divulged. It was, unfortunately, otherwise with his 
successor, who was a stranger to the people and to 
the district, and was therefore unable to withstand 
in safety the frequent military searches made for him. 

Near Corgarff is another ancient graveyard with 
the remains of a church; it was dedicated to St 
Machar. Close by is also a holy well. Eound the 


above-mentioned chapel at Dalfad there is also a burial- 
ground, in which at least one priest is interred, but 
who he was is not known. Other tombstones bear 
the name Grierson M Gregor being at that time a 
proscribed name whilst others have only an initial. 
The favourite burial-place, however, has always been 
St Mungo s, at Foot of Gairn, where the walls of the 
old pre-Keformation church are still standing. 

My informant on many of the above incidents was 
our old friend John Michie, who, though he protested 
that "he never had a memory to carry a tale," yet 
was able to give most interesting details of the life in 
Glengairn of old. Born in 1816, John Michie had 
lived seventy-four years in the glen, and even at 
that age he was able to start a new life as a lay brother 
at Fort Augustus, where he yet lives. 1 In childhood 
he met with an accident, which deprived him of the 
use of one arm, but his great ingenuity made the 
other do service for two. Indeed, despite the assertion 
that his school of old was " fu of reek," he was known 
in his lay-brother days to have eighteen fires lit and 
brightly burning before six o clock in the morning. 

In his earlier days he had been a shepherd, and 
would speak with pride of the fine wedders which 
Braemar then produced. At one time there were two 
markets in September, to which sheep would be brought 
even from Badenoch, whilst one grazing alone in Braemar 
yielded nine hundred of the finest wedders. Sometimes 
he would take his flock to Edinburgh all the way 

J 0n 14th March 1909 he celebrated his ninety-third birthday. 
Though totally blind, he is still in good health, and with the use of 
a stick finds his way to church at 5.80 each morning for Masi 
and Holy Communion, 


by road and would be two weeks on the journey, 
sleeping each night in the open with his plaid wrapped 
about him alongside of his flock. " That was the time," 
he would say, "before there was much word about 
deer and I dinna think the deer have done much 
good." To the remark " At that time there must have 
been many an honest man travelling home by road, 
but I fear those whom one meets to-day are not of 
that sort," he replied : " Nah, nah ! ye will not often 
get an honest man walking the road nowadays the 
honest man cannot afford it" words which suggest 
many philosophic deductions. 

Besides being shepherd, he was the best scholar in 
the glen, and for some time acted schoolmaster, as 
already mentioned. Even when old age had made 
him blind, he would delight to work out problems in 
his head, problems, too, which were hard enough even 
for one who had taken high honours in mathematics 
at Cambridge. Having been all his life of most 
temperate habits, it seemed strange that he had not 
put together a little money; but this was easily 
explained by the fact that all his life through he 
had been charitable far beyond his means. His little 
cottage was open to every passing wayfarer, to whom 
he never refused a meal and a night s lodging, so that 
the slender means which barely sufficed for himself 
were spun out to afford a hospitality which many a 
large farmer would not dare to undertake. When at 
last he was advised to find a home where he would 
be cared for in his old age he decided to enter at 
Fort Augustus as a lay brother. Having lived so 
long in the glen where he was born, he left it in the 


old pastoral fashion, and with his plaid over his 
shoulder started to walk across the hills he knew so 
well, into a district not less than sixty miles away, and 
reached Fort Augustus safely in three days. 

His friends in Glengairn had expected that he 
would say good-bye to each one, but the old man 
feared, no doubt, that this would be too much for his 
kind old heart, so he left very early one morning 
without bidding adieu to any one. He was, however, 
seen mounting the hill which the road ascends, and 
on reaching the summit turned round to have a last 
look at the Glengairn of his childhood, then kneel 
ing awhile he prayed a blessing on his old home. 
When word passed through the district that John 
Michie was away, and that he had thus bi J them 
adieu, there was many a tear seen rolling iown 
the faces of those who had so long knov him. 
How closely his interests were interwoven v th the 
Catholic life of Glengairn is clear from the fact that 
while his maternal grandmot, * was sister to Father 
Lachlan, his grandmother on his father s side was 
long housekeeper to Father Charles Farquharson. He 
had, moreover, himself fulfilled the duties of clerk 
and sacristan for well-nigh fifty years. 

He would speak of the Glengairn of his day as of 
a thing of the past ; and so indeed it is. The pretty 
little chapel built as recently as 1868 is now without 
a Catholic congregation, and has been sold on the 
understanding that it will be taken down. How 
great the tide of emigration from this glen has been, 
is seen from the fact that at a recent meeting in 


Australia one of the company, seeing such a number 
of Gairnside folk on their way to the meeting, asked 
in sport : " Why, lads, where is it that we are going ; 
is it to Feille Macha ? " For many, many generations 
Feille Macha has been celebrated round St Mungo s 
cemetery at Foot of Gairn, and it is to be hoped that 
it may yet be celebrated for many generations in 
distant lands, whose sons and daughters may remember 
with pleasure the Glengairn from which they are sprung. 


" Land of the mountain and the flood, 
Where the pine of the forest for ages hath stood ; 
Where the eagle comes forth on the wings of the storm, 
And her young ones are rocked on the high Cairngorm." 

"!T is generally, and very correctly said, that there 
are three primary objects which form the romantic 
beauty of a district, and which must necessarily enter 
into the composition of every picturesque landscape. 
These are hill, water, and wood ; and where one of 
them is absent, the scenery is incomplete and loses 
much of its charm. There is abundance of all three 
in Braemar, very much in keeping with one another, 
and, as might be expected, upon a large scale. In 
fact it can boast of having the highest hills, the purest 
water, and the finest pine forest in Britain. 

"Of course in this enumeration of the different 
elements of romantic scenery, the presence of the 
habitations of mankind, either congregated or scattered, 
is taken for granted. Without this, the finest land 
scape would lose its greatest charm the grandest 
scenery would, after all, be but a sublime desert 
the temple of nature itself would feel still and lonely 
to the worshippers." 1 

1 " Braemar and Balmoral," Rev. James Crombie. 


Indeed it is probable that no other district of 
Scotland is so rich in natural beauty and in historic 
sites, for it was the beauty of the situation and of 
the surrounding scenery which led the late Queen 
Victoria to make it her favourite residence, whilst 
the names of Monaltrie, Abergeldie, Invercauld, and 
Inverey, are full of memories of some of the most 
interesting events in Scottish history. When to this 
is added that the old Faith has held unbroken sway 
in the district, and that to this day it is replete with 
traditions of the priests and of the Catholic people 
of bygone days, one feels that it is indeed a difficult 
task to do justice to the traditions and to the history 
of the Braes of Mar. 

Of the historic sites mentioned above, Monaltrie 
came into the possession of the Farquharsons about 
1568. In 1645 Donald Farquharson, a Eoyalist and 
a follower of Montrose, was slain in Aberdeen, 
leaving behind him the reputation of being one of 
the gallantest captains in Scotland. A century later 
Francis Farquharson the Baron Ban followed Prince 
Charlie and suffered and sacrificed much in conse 
quence. He was included in the Act of Attainder 
of May 1746, and was excluded from the benefits 
of the Act of Indemnity passed in the following 
year. He was sometime a prisoner in England, and 
was very near losing his head. He was indeed con 
demned to death, but obtained a pardon, and after a 
while the restoration of his property, which had been 
forfeited, on payment of a very heavy fine. 

Abergeldie is an old castle on the south bank of 
the Dee, noted, not for its size or architectural features, 


but rather for its antiquity and the associations old 
and new that have gathered round it. For fully four 
centuries the lands of Abergeldie have been held by 
Gordons, ancestors of the present owner, for it was 
in the time of James III. that they were granted to 
Alexander Gordon, a kinsman of the Earl of Huntly. 
The Laird of Abergeldie and his son fought at the 
battle of Glenlivet in 1594, Abergeldie s son being 
amongst the slain. The lands and Castle of Knock 
a fine old castle four miles further down the Dee 
were subsequently added to the Abergeldie possessions 
when the Gordons of Knock came to an end through 
their feud with the Forbeses. Gordon of Abergeldie 
took some part in the civil war towards the end of the 
reign of Charles I., and his lands, in common with other 
parts of Deeside, were plundered by Argyle s men in 
1644. After the Eevolution Abergeldie was garrisoned 
by Government troops under General Mackay, but the 
clansmen of the Braes of Mar besieged the garrison 
so tightly that the General himself was obliged to 
turn aside next summer and come to their assistance. 
He was so exasperated by the opposition which he 
encountered that he burned twelve miles of the 
country and at least 1,400 houses. 

Close to Abergeldie Castle a light iron suspension 
bridge was thrown across the Dee about ten years 
ago. Previously the river had been crossed by a 
contrivance locally known as "the cradle" a cage 
suspended from pulley-like wheels, which ran on 
two stout ropes attached to wooden pillars on the 
north and south banks. The weight of the cage and 
passengers carried them a little beyond the middle 



of the river, after which the passenger completed the 
journey by pulling on the ropes with his hands. " The 
cradle" was in operation for a very long time, and 
seventy or eighty years ago a bride and bridegroom 
were drowned by the breaking of the rope which 
some thought had been cut or tampered with. 

Invercauld House has been for centuries the residence 
of a chieftain of the Clan Farquharson, and occupies 
a magnificent position on the banks of the Dee a 
position which much surpasses even that of Balmoral. 
Parts of the house are of great age, but the larger 
portion is of more recent date. In the autumn of 1715 
the Earl of Mar took up his quarters in Invercauld, 
and a tablet in the wall of the Invercauld Arms com 
memorates the raising of the Standard there. A good 
idea of the "Local Government" at Invercauld less 
than a century ago is given in Mr Coutts s " Dictionary 
of Deeside," from which much of the above has been 
taken. The economy of the place then included the 
home farm at Keiloch, hardly a mile distant, with a 
large stock of dairy cows and other cattle, besides a 
number of Highland cattle ; a lime-kiln, where lime 
was prepared both for building purposes and for top- 
dressing the lands ; a vegetable and flower garden, as 
well as a nursery for raising seedling forest trees and 
rearing them till fit to be planted out ; a sawmill for 
cutting up grown timber; a flock of sheep pasturing 
in the meadows, and ten or a dozen Highland ponies, 
generally running about the parks and stabled only for 
a few months in winter; a slaughter-house, where 
fattened victims from the flock and herd were prepared 
for the larder and the cook ; a building for smoking 


and curing venison hams to be used outside the season 
when deer are fit to be killed; baking and brewing 
departments, and a girnal or store for oatmeal, which 
was supplied by the Cromar tenants in part payment 
of their rent, and sold out (a shade below Braemar 
rates) to the servants and workers on the estate, many 
of whom, both men and women, might have been seen 
on a Saturday (the day when the girnal was open) 
carrying home a firlot or more of meal on their 
shoulders. The system was one which employed 
numerous servants and workers, most of whom had 
crofts added to their cottages, and some, who were not 
otherwise sufficiently provided for, were allowed the 
use of a bit of the Keiloch home farm. 

Of Inverey Castle nothing but the ruins now remain, 
situated about five miles from Braemar. Concerning 
Inverey and the lands, Mr John Grant in his " Legends 
of the Braes of Mar," has much to tell, and the follow 
ing are selected, though indeed the whole of the little 
book forms most interesting reading. 

William Farquharson, of Inverey, followed his brave 
cousin Donald Og (Monaltrie) from the beginning of 
Montrose s campaign, and at the death of Donald, he 
received his sword from the Great Montrose, and with 
the claymore, the colonelcy of the Braw Lads of Braes 
of Mar. Inverey seems to have left Montrose before 
the fatal battle of Philiphaugh. Later, this sword was 
carried on the coffins of all the Invereys to the grave, 
but it is not known what became of it afterwards. 
John of Inverey the Black Colonel commanded the 
men of Mar under Dundee. It was in the Black 
Colonel s day that the incident occurred which was 


the origin of the now popular dance, the Reel of Tullich. 
It seems that the minister of the Kirk of Tullich one 
very cold Sunday morning preferred to stay within the 
doors of his warm manse rather than face the biting 
cold of the road to the kirk, and the no less distress 
ing temperature of the kirk itself. Meantime, the 
parishioners, to the number of some scores, had 
assembled, and finding the waiting in the cold trouble 
some to their feet, and to their hands as well, they 
scrupled not to warm them by beating time on the 
floor and clapping their hands into the bargain. The 
lads and lassies began to chaff, and from words it came 
to action, so that the auld kirk was soon the scene 
of a merry meeting. A "stockingful of placks 1 and 
bodies " 2 was next collected, and one, two, three, and 
four jines 3 followed in quick succession. The "gude 
ale " gave the company spirit, and the sitting still (in 
the Kirk of Spital of Glenshee there were no seats at 
that time, perhaps neither were there at Tullich) was 
quickly changed to a merry dance, even the fiddler 
being soon at his work; indeed as the morning wore 
on, "inspired, excited, in a frenzy, the fiddler who 
officiated improvised the reel of Tullich." It is said 
" that a cobbler ascended the pulpit and (with shame 
less sarcasm) held forth with an energy worthy of 
Knox. Two weavers and three tailors installed them 
selves as elders, and some couples of pretended defaulters 
were immediately sessioned ; meantime, the blacksmith 
had taken the precentor s desk and was trolling forth 
a gude and godly ballad." 

Peter, the fourth of Inverey, succeeded his father, 
1 Sixpence Scots. 2 Twopence Scots. 8 Drinks. 


the Black Colonel, about 1*700. He was present at 
Sheriffmuir, where he commanded the Lads of Mar, 
in whose midst the Standard had been unfurled, 
6th September 1715. Mr Grant points out the strange 
omission of any mention of the men of Mar in the 
ditty written on that occasion, though adapted to the 
very tune of "The Braes of Mar." The words of 
the original went : 

" The bra lads o the Braes o Mar, 
The bra lads o the Braes o j Mar, 
The bra lads o the Braes o Mar, 
Wha love to court on Sunday." 

The ditty of 1715 runs thus : 

" The standard on the Braes of Mar 

Is up and streaming rarely, 
The gathering pipe on Lochnagar 
Is sounding lang an sairly. 
The Highland men, 
Frae hill and glen, 
In martial hue, 
Wi bonnets blue, 
Wi belted plaids 
An burnished blades, 
Are coming late and early. 

" Wha wadna join our noble chief, 
The Drummond and Glengarry, 
Macgregor, Murray, Hollo, Keith, 
Panmure and gallant Harry ? 

Macdonald s men, 

Clan Ronald s men, 

Mackenzie s men, 

Macgillivray s men, 

Strathallan s men, 

The Lowlan men 
Of Callender and Airly. 


" Fy ! Donald, up, an let s awa , 

We canna longer parley, 
When Jamie s back is at the wa , 
The lad we love sae dearly. 

We ll go we ll go, 

An seek the foe, 

An fling the plaid, 

An swing the blade, 

An forward dash 

An hack and slash, 
And fleg the German carlie." 

Who the composer of this ditty was is not known, 
but the writer of the more famous account of the 
battle of Sheriffinuir was Eev. Murdoch M Lennan, 
minister of Crathie (and Braemar). It runs thus: 

" There s some say that we wan, 
And some say that they wan, 
And some say that nane wan at a , man ; 
But one thing I m sure, 
That at Shirra-muir 
A battle there was, that I saw, man. 
And we ran, and they ran, 
And they ran, and we ran, 
But Florence 1 ran fastest of a , man." 

The battle of Shcriffmuir was a sadly mismanaged 
affair, in the course of which one old Eoyalist who had 
fought at Killiecrankie exclaimed : " Oh for one hour of 
Dundee ! " Bat the end of the Eising, the capitulation 
at Preston, was a long way worse. 

About the year 1700 lived Gilleasbuig Urrasach 
(Gillespie the proud), a worthy whose history is a good 
Cample of its kind. He would never stir beyond the 

1 Florence was the name of the Marquis of Huntly s horse. 


threshold without being armed to the teeth, and besides 
the ordinary complement of gun, broadsword, dirk, 
targe, a pair of pistols, and a skiandubh stuck in at 
the garter of each hose, he carried one in the sleeve of 
each arm. This was to prevent surprise in whatever 
position or state the enemy might find him, and to 
assure an arm offensive, even when fallen, or taken at 
close quarters unexpectedly by a foe of greater personal 

About this time eight Lochaber men, under the 
command of a remarkably bold, strong, and active 
leader, drove away the cattle of Glen Clunie, the 
Baddoch, Gleney, Glenconnie, and Glen Dee in the 
night time. As it was summer, the flocks and herds 
were as usual in the glens. The Braemar men rose 
en masse. Invercauld was chosen their captain. He 
selected from those assembled thirty of the flower of 
Braemar, among whom, of course, was Gillespie the 
proud. That night they set out, passed through 
Glentilt, and next day entered Lochaber. A hundred 
miles of the roughest road was play to the men of those 
days. Mounting a steep hill, they met an old man 
whose hoary head and long beard gave him a most 
venerable appearance. Like every other one they had 
seen, he would give them no intelligence on the subject 
of their expedition. Eesting there, however, to refresh 
themselves, and making him partake of such refresh 
ment as they had, after many promises of secrecy, they 
prevailed on him to speak, and were informed that their 
cattle lay concealed in a secluded little glen somewhat 
further on, and that the robbers would be found in a 
little shieling near by. Making a short circuit, they 


were enabled to come on the place unperceived, and 
after stationing one or two men to care for the cattle, 
the rest managed to surround the shieling; not, how 
ever, before one of the robbers, who had been at the 
door, made his escape. A party charged the door with 
loaded guns, and ordered those within to come out, 
threatening otherwise to fire. At the third summons 
the leader told them to withdraw a short space, and on 
their complying, stepped out to the green, as wild and 
handsome a giant as man could wish to see. " It would 
be useless," said he, " for me with eight men only to 
contend with you, but " and he raised himself proudly 
" I defy any single man of you to combat, and all of 
you one after another. Now then, for the honour of 
Mar!" There were few present, though, indeed, all 
were the bravest of men, who seemed desirous of 
measuring their prowess with the terrible Lochaber 
man, He had thrice to repeat his challenge. At 
length G-illespie Urrasach stepped forward. There 
was a desperate struggle. The wonderful activity of 
Gillespie prevailed, and the Kern was felled to the 
ground. After this, the shieling was forced, and all 
those found within put to death. By morning the Mar 
men had cleared Glentilt, homeward bound with their 
recovered cattle. 1 

On another occasion it was with sacred things that 
Gilleasbuig got into trouble. He persuaded some 
old wives that the priest had delegated him to hear 
their confessions, and so frightened the first would-be 
penitent that she ran out wringing her hands. Gillespie 
fell back in the chair ready to die of laughter, when 
1 " Legends of the Braes of Mar," p. 148. 

VOL, I, G 


the priest arrived on the spot. Next Sunday he was 
excommunicated for his frolic, and long remained sub 
jected to the severest penance. 

We are told that at the end of his wild life, he 
confessed to one great remorse that his dirk which 
had killed nineteen had not managed to make the 
number twenty not counting the victims of his gun, 
sword, and pistol. In his last moments he was attended 
by the priest, who probably found that many of his 
deeds of blood were in self-defence, or in the protection 
of his master s property, in which he gained a great 
name for himself. 

It was foretold of a cousin of his, Donald Dubh 
Epiteach, that he would hang himself with his own 
garters. The story is inserted here as showing how 
the Sunday Mass even at this date was possible in 
the two wildest districts of Scotland, the Braes of 
Lochaber and of Mar, from the former of which the 
fortune-teller hailed. 

Donald Dubh Epiteach (Black Donald, the Egyptian), 
about the year 1740, was in Farquharson of Allan- 
cuaich s following, and accompanied his master on a 
visit he paid to some acquaintance in Lochaber. When 
there he was a good deal annoyed by the fixed regard 
of an old crone in the house, and therefore walked 

" Ah ! " exclaimed she, with a deep sigh, as he dis 
appeared, " a pretty man, a pretty man ! Pity he is 
destined to such an end ! " 

" And what may that be, pray ? " asked Allancuaich. 
After insisting awhile, he learned that Donald Dubh 
would hang himself in his own garters. He mused 


awhile over this prediction, and then requested to 
know whether this doom might be averted from his 
trusted retainer. "Well," replied the crone in a 
musing way, "it might it might. Suppose he were 
to attend Mass regularly every Sunday ; ah well, 
but what matters that to us : he is none of our 

And nothing more could be extracted from the 
fortune-teller. What he had learned, the laird did 
not fail to communicate to his follower. So deep 
an impression did this make upon Donald, that he 
never failed to attend Mass regularly every Sunday 
during his lifetime, except on one occasion. On the 
Sunday referred to, the Dee was so swollen with 
rain that no boat could be "stinged" across. The 
Epiteach, on worship intent, with others in his neigh 
bourhood, all ignorant of the fact, came down to the 
ferry, which was then as now at the head of the 
river, about half a mile above Auchindryne. Finding 
there could be no passage effected, he sat down dis 
consolate on the bank, and a feeling of unaccountable 
depression came over him, so that he could not be 

" Bless me ! " exclaimed a lad present Allancuaich s 
herd who coveted Donald Dubh s garters, " don t make 
such a fuss about a Mass. I ll sell you my right and 
title in the benefit of it for your garters." l 

Without a word Donald untied and threw them to 
the lad. Later in the day, when they were calling 
the servants about Allancuaich to dinner, it was 

1 It should be noted that the garters of those days were long knitted 
strips of wool each three feet and more in length. 


found that the herd had hanged himself in one of 
the byres with the garters he had coveted. And the 
doom of the weird woman was held to have been 
averted from Black Donald. 1 

The country where the Jacobite Standard was 
raised in 1715 was not slow to "come out" in 45. 
Invercauld, now an old man with little influence, and 
Lord Braco, a new arrival in the district, favoured 
the established Government, but all the rest of the 
lairds with all their following were Jacobite, the fore 
most being Francis Farquharson of Monaltrie and 
James Farquharson of Balmoral. Francis Farquharson, 
as has been already mentioned, narrowly escaped execu 
tion, whilst James, of Balmoral, was severely wounded 
at Falkirk. In preparation for that battle, Balmoral 
drew up his men in the form of a wedge, thus he 
marched at their head, two men followed in the 
second rank, three in the third, and so on to the 
rear. "Now, my lads," said he, "march in silence. 
Fire not a shot till you can discern the colour of 
the horses eyes, then give one volley altogether ; 
throw down your guns and rush upon them, cut 
the horses bridles, and we will then deal with the 

As they advanced a bullet hit Balmoral in the 
shoulder. "Four men," cried his henchman, "to 
carry our wounded chief to the rear!" "Never!" 
cried Balmoral ; " four men to carry your chief at the 
head of his children into the thickest of the fight." 

After the suppression of the Eising the Braes of 
Mar suffered along with the other Jacobite centres, 
1 "Legends of the Braes of Mar," p. 173. 


In 1748 the Government leased the old Castle of 
Braemar, and completely rebuilt it, placing therein 
a garrison to keep the clans under control, and later 
to keep down illicit smuggling. It was in front of 
the Castle of Braemar that the Highland Meeting 
was annually held, one great feature of the games 
being the race to the top of Craig Choinnich, shown 
on the right of the illustration. This race, said to 
have been instituted by Malcolm Canmore, was dis 
continued at the late Queen s request. The gather 
ing is now held in the Princess Park, the gift of 
the Duke of Fife, who still continues the same kind 
and generous treatment which has distinguished his 
ancestors, and of which an excellent example is given 
in the following chapter. The new site of the Braemar 
gathering is still within a few hundred yards of the 
spot where the Standard of the Jacobites was raised 
in 1715 ; but each year, as the gathering is favoured 
by the presence of the Koyal residents in the neigh 
bourhood, it ever grows more and more true that no 
people in Britain are more devoted to the Crown 
and to the Eoyal family than those of the Bra Braes 
of Mar. 



To begin our sketch of the church of Braemar at the 
Eeformation itself, the priest at that time was Eev. 
John Owen, or Owenson, a very pious man and beloved 
by his people. During the first storm of persecution 
he remained amongst his people and encouraged them 
by his presence and example to adhere steadfastly to 
their religion. He was assaulted and dragged from 
the altar by a hired band of soldiers, who conveyed 
him to Aberdeen jail ; but on his way there he told 
them that the person who had assaulted him that day 
had seriously offended God, and he foretold that before a 
day andja year would pass, the hand which had struck 
him would rot and would be cut off from the shoulder. 
That this prophecy came true is amply proved by the 
writings of the times ; nor did any of the people of 
Braemar, whether Catholic or Protestant, in the least 
doubt it. 

On obtaining his release from prison Father Owen- 
son immediately returned to Braemar and resumed his 
priestly duties under very trying circumstances. 

After Father Owenson s time the priests were appre 
hended by the military, and those who escaped had 
to go into hiding or leave the neighbourhood, and the 



districts of Braemar, Glengairn, and Strathavon were 
privately attended to by a few Jesuit priests dressed 
in disguise. One of these, a Father E. Lindsay, used 
to visit Braemar periodically dressed as a shepherd, 
playing on a flute, and by this means he was able 
to meet the Catholics and arrange for the necessary 
services being held before his departure from the 
district. Father Lindsay died at Kirkconnell about 
1664, aged eighty-eight years. 

After this came the Father Gilbert Blackball, a pious 
and holy man, who in 1637 resided privately at Aboyne 
Castle, and for some time was living with Donald 
Farquharson in Braemar and attended to the wants 
of the Catholics there and at Crathie. He wrote a 
most interesting account of his travels and experi 
ences while resident in Deeside, which was published 
by the Spalding Club of Aberdeen. Father Blackball 
died in Paris about 1670. 

Father Forsyth was the first resident priest in 
Braemar after the Eeformation. He came to the 
mission about 1671 ; his district included both Braemar 
and Glengairn. He was apprehended and imprisoned 
for a time, but on obtaining his liberty he returned and 
laboured with great zeal until about 1701. It is he 
who figures so largely in the account of the conversion 
of Lewis Farquharson, given by his son Father Charles 
Farquharson. Both on account of the interest of the 
narrative and of the great merit of the writer the 
passage is here given in full. 

" William Farquharson headed the Braemar men, and 
went abroad with Montrose, leaving his son John his 
heir to the estate of Inverey. This John resolved, 


being son to the elder brother, to make a minister of 
Lewis, my father, give him a kirk, and seize on his 
small estates as his own. He sends him therefore to 
the College of Aberdeen. Having ended his studies, 
he became helper to the minister settled at Crathie. 
After awhile he gives him a letter to get a kirk. 
His professor, on reading Inverey s letter, told him to 
write a book against the Papists, and then he would 
get a kirk. This meritorious book was finished, and 
my father, before he printed his book, reflected thus : 
" I write nothing here against the Papists, but what 
I found in our best authors. Yet I have a scruple 
about some things that are said and often printed 
against them. Papists have surely committed many 
bad things ; yet I do not find sufficiently proven that 
these bad things proceeded from principle. There is 
a priest coming to this country in the night, and if 
he objected that we calumniate them, I would think 
great shame ! He goes directly, finds at Invercauld 
some of Mr John Owenson s books of controversy, 
and blots out of his own manuscripts, accounts of the 
Irish and French massacres, together with many other 
calumnies. He then finds his book too little ; but, 
says he, 111 answer this popish book till my book 
will be big enough for the press. The first argument 
of the Catholic book was, that Jesus Christ settled an 
infallible church upon earth. Oh, oh ! said he, 
this is the Achilles of the Papists ; if they prove this, 
they will make us all rebels to God and His Church. 
I must answer this, or 111 do nothing. If they prove 
this article alone, they will then not need to prove any 
other article of their religion ! He wrote an answer, 


compared the Catholic argument, and found his answer 
obscure and the Catholic argument much easier to be 
understood by the reader of both, threw it away, and 
wrote another. He found this insufficient. He began 
to pare and study, but the more he studied, the more 
difficulty he saw in answering it. Then he sought all 
the books of his own persuasion, thinking he would 
undoubtedly find a clear answer to the argument ; but 
was much surprised they all wrote very little con 
cerning it. He, in his surprise, compared them to a 
bird flying over a river, and tasting a little of the 
water in passing quickly to land. What ! said he ; 
no answer to this chief argument of the Papists, but 
jeering, bantering, and scolding ? Good God ! says he, 
Christs builds a Church, the gates of hell shall never 
prevail against it; He ll be with her to the world s 
end ! How can I believe that all these texts are false, 
and be a Christian ? With the help of God I ll be at the 
bottom of this. I read these texts more than twenty 
times, and only now find their strength when put 
together and well considered. He goes down to 
Aberdeen ; while the young ministers propose their 
questions, he proposes his. What answer, says he, 
will I give the Papists to this argument ? The 
learned Professor answers thus : Go home, Lewis/ 
says he, write" your book the best way you can, and 
you ll get a kirk; don t dive deep into controversy, 
otherwise you ll go straight to Popery ! This answer 
struck his scholar dumb ; he replied nothing, but going 
home, said within himself : What is this ? If I dive 
deep into controversy I ll go straight to Popery ? If 
we have the truth on our side, the more I dive into it, 


the better I see it ; but it seems he sees it on the side 
of Popery. But if I see it on that side, I will embrace 
it ; my salvation depends on believing and doing what 
Christ taught. Full of this thought at his coming 
home, he reads the whole Catholic book. His reflec 
tion was : Good God ! we bragged we were forced 
to separate from the Church of Eome because she 
denied clear texts of Scripture had nothing to say for 
herself but the authority of her Church. I m much 
afraid we are all wrong. 

" As the author of that book cited another book for 
some article that could not be found either at Inver- 
cauld or at Crathie, he sent for Donald Eoy M Callum, 
and said : I want a word with your priest that comes 
to visit you with moonlight ! Donald denied at first 
that any came to him. But my father told him he 
knew a priest came to visit him as well as himself. 
Donald then owned, and begged he would not raise 
a persecution against him. * No, Donald/ said my 
father, I ll do him no manner of harm. Donald told 
this to Mr Forsey as a piece of news, when he came. 
Oh, man, says Mr Forsey, did you tell him that I 
frequented your house ? Donald said : I thought to 
deny it, but as he told me with some warmth he knew 
it as well as myself, I thought it safer to own what he 
knew already, and begged him not to raise a persecution 
against us. "I m far from it," he replied; "I want 
only one word of him in as private a place as you or 
he think proper." Mr Forsey ordered Donald not to 
tell the minister (Mr Farquharson) till after four days 
were over after his departure from his house, that he 
was there ; for, said he, there is no churchman 


between this and Castle Gordon but myself. I have 
some few in Glenlivet, very few in Strathavon, and you 
and another man here; and if you betray me, your 
blood and that of others will be upon your own head. 
When Donald Koy told this, and that Mr Forsey 
refused to see him, my father told him he was sorry 
he had too much reason for mistrusting him, and said : 
When Mr Forsey comes again, assure him upon the 
word of a gentleman and an honest man that I ll be 
upon my back before any harm come over him while 
he ll be with me. This Donald tells Mr Forsey what 
was said to himself. Very well, Donald/ said Mr 
Forsey ; do you remember what the little priest said to 
that man s father when he left the country? Upon 
Donald replying that all the country knew it, as well 
as he Who knows what is God s design ? Tis easy for 
God to convert him ; and as he has a little estate in 
the midst of the country, he may, if he converts, be a 
considerable support to religion in this country ; and 
his example as an outward grace may induce many 
to follow him. Go you this moment and tell him to 
meet me very early to-morrow, in any private wood 
you ll both agree upon. At their meeting in the wood 
of Dalbreckachy, my father assured Mr Forsey he 
would to the utmost of his power defend him. I 
ask nothing, said he, * but the loan of such a book, 
telling him the title. I will send it/ said Mr Forsey. 
When he came again he brought the book, and said : 
* If that gentleman reads this book, and ask another 
interview, I ll have more courage to meet him ; 
yet, as formerly, I ll put my whole trust in God. 
They burned all our books that they could lay hands 


on, and yet preach that we keep the people in 

" Next time Mr Forsey came to the country, Donald 
Eoy told him my father wanted another word of him. 
The meeting was at the same time and place. My 
father was there. Mr Forsey concluded there was a 
longer meeting intended, as he saw some meat and 
drink prepared and brought by my father, who begged 
him to sit down and told Donald to come at night for 
Mr Forsey before it should be dark. My father began 
to ask questions about religion. Mr Forsey said he 
declined disputes about religion, because they usually 
begot hatreds and quarrels. My father answered : 
There shall be no disputes or quarrels between us ; 
but my only desire is to be informed about many 
things I heard and read about your religion. With 
all my heart, then, replied the other, I will tell what 
we believe. Night came ; Donald comes ; they agree 
to meet next morning, and Saturday the same. On 
which day, at night, my father says : Go you home, 
Donald, and come to-morrow to my house. I hope, 
Mr Forsey, you ll take a bed from me this night. 
This may hurt us both, replied Mr Forsey ; * it will 
debar you from getting a kirk, and draw a greater 
persecution on me. My father replied : * I am resolved 
to be persecuted with you. As I have a dislike for 
Nicodemus s way, I ll tell you plainly my design. To 
morrow I have a mind, with God s grace, to abjure all 
heresy, and to be reconciled as soon as you think 
proper, and that publicly. There are about forty 
persons in this country that never go to the kirk, and 
always expect and pray for a churchman of the religion 


of their forefathers. I will call them, and you ll be, I 
hope, pleased to explain to them the principal points 
of the Catholic Faith and motives of credibility. I 
know they ll imprison me, and take from me my 
worldly goods, as far as God will allow them; and 
while I m at home, I am ready to employ myself every 
Sunday in teaching all those who are willing the 
Christian doctrine. All this was executed the next 
day. Mr Forsey departed next night for Castle 
Gordon. My father was put in prison twice, and was 
liberated twice, paying 500 merks ; and as the Earl of 
Mar was his great friend, he lost not a bit of his land. 
So when God in His mercy has a mind to convert a 
country, He does extraordinary things, and gives His 
grace to those that are sincere, of an upright heart, and 
prefer their salvation to all things else." 

Probably Mr Forsyth little thought when he received 
Mr Farquharson into the Church that the laird s two 
sons, John and Charles, would be amongst the most 
devoted priests of that period, rich as it was in names 
whom later generations learned to venerate. We shall 
have to treat of them later. After the conversion 
of Mr Farquharson, Mr Forsyth settled permanently 
at Braemar, and remained in charge of that extensive 
mission until the beginning of the eighteenth century, 
when he died, and was buried in the old Catholic bury- 
ing-ground of Castletown of Braemar, where a handsome 
stone marks the spot where his ashes repose. 

Mr Forsyth was followed by Father Robert Seton, S. J. 
It is probable that he only remained a short while in 
this district, and that about 1703 he was succeeded by 


Father Hugh Strachan (alias Kamsay), who remained 
in Braemar until 1736. It was Father Strachan who 
has left us so delightful a monument to his diligence 
and accuracy in the fine old Register of Baptisms. 
This begins at the end of the year 1703, and continues 
uninterrupted till the end of the year 1736. The 
entries number three or four to the page, and are 
776 in all. The following form is preserved almost 
verbatim, though written out most carefully afresh 
for each entry. "93. J. baptised was a child to 
John Laman, alias Mcgillivi, commonly called the Ter 
Og Buoy ; he lives in Castletoune, in the parish of 
St Andrews or Kindrochit, commonly called Braemar. 
The father and mother are Catholics, and are lawfully 
married. The chyld was called Elizabeth. The god 
father was John Laman, alias Me Gillivi ; hee s Catholik 
and married, and lives in Torran, in the parish of 
Glengarden. The godmother was Anne Mc-gregor, a 
Catholik and widow, and she lives in Ardichi, in 
the parish of Glengarden : And the chyld was baptised 
at Ardichi, in the parish of Glengarden, since I could 
not at that tyme go to Braemar, this 21 day of 
March in the year 1710." The 200 odd pages of this 
register, in their old sheepskin cover, form a most 
interesting record, which it is pleasant to know will 
soon appear in print under the able editorship of the 
New Spalding Club. 

The last few entries in the register are in a different 
handwriting, presumably that of Father Peter Gordon, 
who was priest in Braemar from 1736 - 1763. His 
register exists also. Of Father Gordon, Bishop Geddes 
writes, that he was apprehended in 1746, and on being 


taken to Aberdeen jail, Mr Menzies of Pitfodels stood 
bail for him. On being liberated, he returned to 
Braemar, arriving there before the soldiers who had 
seized him had got back. Father Gordon was suc 
ceeded by Father William M Leod, alias M Hardy, 
and after him came Father Charles Farquharson, who 
served the mission in Braemar and Glengairn till 
1781, when he retired to Ardearg. He died in 1799, 
and was buried in the same grave where the remains 
of Father Forsyth lie deposited. During his long 
residence as priest in Braemar, Father Farquharson 
won the esteem of all with whom he came in contact. 
Of him and of his brother John concerning whom see 
under " Strathglass " Mr Grant says : " Their piety 
gained them the veneration, their learning the esteem, 
and their urbanity the love of all those who knew 
them." He was, however, often tracked by the priest- 
hunters, whose cupidity was excited by the reward 
offered for his capture. Once as Invercauld and his 
coachman were walking along the banks of the Dee, 
they perceived on the opposite side his Eeverence 
esconced below a thicket that grew at the foot of 
Craig Choinnich. The coachman proposed to arrest 
him, and gain the Government reward. Invercauld 
durst not oppose him, so he crossed the river at some 
distance from where the Father, little suspecting snares, 
sat quietly reading his breviary. Sneaking through 
the trees, the servant came behind him, and taking 
him by the collar, with the phrase, "You are my 
prisoner," captured him. 

"Stop a moment," returned Father Charles, "until 
I finish my prayers, and then I am your man." 


The Jesuit went on quite unconcernedly to the end, 
and closing his book with a slap, made a huge sign 
of the Cross, staring the astonished coachman out of 
countenance, while he repeated : " In nomine Patris 
et Filii et Spiritus Sancti. Amen." What heretic 
could stand it from a Jesuit without a shudder of 
fear and terror? The coachman s prisoner in the 
name of the King of Great Britain and Ireland was 
refractory on one point. Jesuits were always scheming 
and contentious. He would not enter the river to cross 
to Invercauld, and be handed over to the authorities, 
but at a place of his own choosing. Astonishing to 
hear of such liberties being taken by a Catholic priest ! 
This place would not suit, neither would that; but 
this one is the very ford that it pleases Jesuit feet to 
tread ; and he plunged in with the coachman, and 
strode on till the water was up to their arm-pits. Then 
a caution to those who will meddle with Jesuits 
in turn he seized the coachman by the collar and by 
his nether garments, at a place of ignoble name 
and he dipped his head into the water. He allowed 
him to kick and struggle at full scope, and after a 
time took him up to make a short study of physi 
ognomy, and from this concluded he was a physician, 
Father Charles that another dip might be adminis 
tered with good effect. Down went the head again, 
till the termination of the chivalrous Lord Lovell s 
career, in dying with a guggle uggle uggle, had nigh 
ennobled the coachman of Invercauld. The Jesuit, 
however, in the nick of time raised him up and bore 
him to the Invercauld side of the river, where, on a bed 
of soft moss, he laid him down beside his master, the 


laird, who had been a spectator of the whole trans 
action, and sat on the bank holding his sides in an 
agony of laughter. Before the coachman had recovered 
his senses, Father Charles had disappeared in the 
wooded side of Craig Choinnich. 1 

As a physician, Father Charles undoubtedly did a 
great deal of good in the country. He had a peculiar 
way of arriving at the truth, when examining the 
prevaricating relatives of a patient as to the treatment 
employed. If they suspected it was contrary to his 
ideas, no earthly advantage would induce them to 
disclose the nature of it. One time he was called to 
see a darling child in a house near Gairnshiel. The 
boy was evidently dying. 

" Ah! urn! Do you give him plenty of milk meat ? " 
asked he, as if thinking there had been woful neglect 
in this. 

"Well, well, I am very sure he never wants for 
that," answered the mother. 

" Ay, um ! but when ye churn " cross-examining 
with an air of doubt " ye do not give him a fuarag 
of the cream ? " 

" As sure as death, Mr Farquharson," was returned, 
" I never mak butter but he gets a good * fuarag out 
of the churn." 

" Just so, goodwife," concluded the physician ; " well, 
you just buy the winding-sheet with the butter, for 
you have irretrievably destroyed your child s digestion 
with so many good fuarags. See that you are more 
careful with the rest of your bairns." 2 

The good Jesuit s advice might be of advantage to 

1 " Braes of Mar," p. 230. 2 Ibid. 

VOL. I. H 


many to-day. The desire to make butter and sell it 
has induced many a mother to feed her bairns on 
skimmed milk, if not on the fuarag out of the churn. 

At this time the Duffs had acquired the greater 
part of the Braemar estate. They were rigorous in 
putting down poaching; but in spite of their utmost 
endeavours, poaching abounded on their best moors 
and in their finest forests. The Earl of Fife, wishing 
to enlist Father Charles in the cause, and sure that 
his advice would do much with the people, deter 
mined on paying him a visit to talk over the matter. 
He went over to Ardearg accordingly, and found the 
priest busy in raising a bulwark to keep the Dee 
off his little croft. 

" How is all to-day, Mr Farquharson ? " was his 
lordship s salute. 

"I hope I see your lordship well," replied his 
Eeverenoe ; " I am busy at work, you see>" 

" Well, I am come to ask a favour. I wish to dine 
with you to-day, if you will allow me that honour." I 

" With great pleasure ; but permit me to go and 
inform my housekeeper." 

" No, no, sir," replied the Earl ; " he who invites 
himself must take pot luck." 

Father Charles, if it had been possible, would have 
ordered a haunch of venison making ready that day 
to be set aside, and some substitute served, as the 
history of the haunch might not prove satisfactory. 
What would he have thought had he known the errand 
that brought the Earl to his house ? Well, in due 
time they sat down to dinner, and in due time the 
haunch made its appearance. 


" What ! " exclaimed the astonished nobleman ; " how 
comes this to your table ? " 

"Well, when any one," returned his Reverence, 
"comes to my house with his arm supporting any 
present, I never enquire what it encircles." 

" Quite right," returned his lordship, changing his 
tone ; " and when a man invites himself to dine, he 
has little right to enquire how the good things on 
the table came there." 

Of a verity who do you think able to overcome a 
Jesuit ! Not the Earl, at all events, for he went home 
again without mentioning the cause of his visit. 

The next meeting of these two that is recorded 
was as the body of the good priest was being borne 
to the grave. The Earl met the funeral train as 
they came down the road. He dismounted immediately, 
and taking off his hat : " I wish to God," he said, " I 
were such as he was ; I would willingly lie where he 
does," and then assisted in bearing to the grave the 
remains of this most respected priest. His tomb in 
Castletoun churchyard, which is also that of his 
brother and their fellow-priests, bears the following 
inscription : 




The Roman Catholic Clergymen 
who are interred here. 
The Rev. FORSYTH died 
8th Novr. 1708. 


spent the evening of his days 

as chaplain to his nephew, 


Inverey, and died at Balmoral 
22nd August 1782. 


served the Catholic Mission in 

Braemar for many years, and died 

at Oirdearg, 30th Novr. 1799. 

The two former were sons of 


The Rev. WILLIAM M LEOD, died 

3rd June 1809. 
Much and justly regretted. 

They Died to live that Living 

worth regard, 

And with like Virtues seek the 
same reward." 

Many memories of Father Charles still exist. The 
chapel at Ardearg where he celebrated is still standing 
used at present as a dwelling-house. It is in a 
most picturesque and secluded position, almost at the 
foot of a very steep bank some hundred yards and 
more below the present road, a position especially 
chosen for secrecy. About a hundred paces distant 
is the priest s house, also still inhabited. Here may be 
seen his old-fashioned cupboard bed, a form so common 
in the Highlands a hundred years ago, and still to be 
found in the older cottages. Midway between the church 
and house is Father Charles s "seat" a comfortable 
recess in the mossy bank on which the present incumbent 
of the Braemar Mission has placed a stone slab with 
suitable inscription ; whilst outside the present chapel 
is the baptismal font in which the forefathers of the 
present Braemar Catholics received their christening. 


In 1795 another church was built on the outskirts 
of what was then the little village of Auchindryne. 
This chapel is now the Catholic school and teacher s 
house, the old stone in form of a cross and bearing 
the above date having been inserted in the east 
gable, when the school was recently enlarged. The 
house which the priest used at the time of this chapel 
stands within a few yards of it, in a position which 
affords most beautiful views of the whole district. 

Once again, in 1839, the site of the church was 
changed, and the present chapel which cannot fail 
to please all who visit it was built on a site which 
could scarcely have been better selected. 

The following interesting notice regarding the timber 
required for this chapel appeared in the Edinburgh 
Catholic Magazine, Feb. 1838. It is written in the 
style of the period, which needs but little apology. 
Indeed, even as I write these lines, amid the scenes 
herein described, the roaring of the stags from the 
hills around makes me realise the force of much that 
follows. "From time immemorial the inhabitants of 
the romantic glens and hills of Braemar, the wildest 
and at the same time the most beautiful district in the 
whole range of the Grampians, have enjoyed the benefit 
of a Catholic Mission. The inaccessible wilds, which 
are innumerable here, offered to the zealous priest a 
secure retreat when persecution raged with the greatest 
violence. He always found means to assemble his 
flock in some cavern or fortress under the cover of 
night, far from the reach of the most active priest- 
hunters of former days. In this way religion was 
preserved until the growing liberality of the age urged 


a relaxation of the penal laws and enabled the fervent 
pastor to appear in open day and exercise his holy 
ministry without concealment or disguise. A chapel 
was at length built, very modest in appearance and 
small, not to alarm the prejudices or awaken the 
hostilities of the adversaries of the Faith. Yet it 
was a great blessing to the poor people. They had 
long been accustomed to assist at the holy mysteries 
in the open air, and many of them had to travel many 
miles during the tempestuous winter nights of these 
stormy regions to attend their celebration. Any chapel, 
then, however mean, that gave them out a partial 
shelter from the storm, was a great boon. The chapel 
is now in a dilapidated state, and too small to contain 
the congregation. General the Hon. Sir Alex. Duff, 
brother to Lord Fife, offered to give the Catholics a 
present of all the timber required for a more suitable 
chapel. The Eev. Mr Lovie, formerly incumbent of 
the Wick and Keith Missions, already so well known 
for his almost superhuman exertions during the dread 
ful cholera visitation, was thereupon appointed to the 
charge of the Braemar district. He gave notice to 
his new flock to assemble in the woods on a given 
day with their axes and saws to fell timber. 

"It was a joyous day. They set about the work 
like men determined to do their duty. The crashing 
of the falling trees, the joyous shouts of the men, 
the bustle of the numerous horses employed in dragging 
the timber, the merry pibrochs of the hardy Highlanders, 
formed altogether as merry a scene as these hills ever 
witnessed. At the conclusion of the day s labour all 
assembled to congratulate one another on the auspicious 


commencement of the work. When all was over, they 
gave three hearty cheers for the gallant General. The 
shout startled the wild deer, which bounded in herds 
to the top of the distant hills. Cairngorm caught the 
echo from the rugged Lochnagar, Eound whose white 
summits wild elements war/ and it passed from hill 
to hill, until it was lost in the distance. His health 
was also drunk in a bumper of mountain dew, and 
at parting three cheers were given for Lady Carmarthen 
later Duchess of Leeds a great benefactress to the 
proposed chapel." 

In Mr Lovie s time there was a worthy in the 
district known as Jimmie Monie, or " Captain Grant." 
He was a little weak of intellect, and one of his chief 
duties was to warn the people in the district when 
any death occurred and when the funeral was to take 
place. For this he received no money reward, but 
went round from house to house at Easter and New 
Year to receive gifts in kind. The coffin at that 
time was always carried all the way to the grave, 
and the men of the place assembled to help in 
bearing the burden. " Captain Grant " would arrive 
on the day of the funeral with the polea which bore 
the coffin. Fine tall man that he was, he headed the 
procession, walking about twenty yards in front. His 
duty was to call " Ceithir eile ! " " Change places ! " and 
at this signal the four bearers fell to the rear and 
four others stepped forward to bear the coffin. The 
" Captain " knew well who had been kind to him at 
New Year, and those would have a very short journey, 
whilst those who had not propitiated him well were 
allowed to bear the load till their backs and shoulders 


ached a fact which was easily recognised by the 
company present. 

Between Father Charles Farquharson and Mr Lovie, 
the builder of the present chapel, were Messrs William 
M Leod (M Hardy), S.J., 1804; Colin Grant, 1810; 
Evan M Eachan, 1818 ; whilst those who succeeded him 
were Messrs Angus Gillis, 1840 ; John M Corry, 1842 ; 
John Macdonald, 1844 ; Angus Macdonald, 1845 ; Peter 
Grant, 1848 ; Donald M Kae, 1863 ; James Stuart, 1879. 
The dates indicate the beginning of their ministry in 
Braemar. Father M Eachan was a fellow-student at 
Valladolid with Father Lachlan Mackintosh of whom 
see under " Glengairn " and was one of the first Gaelic 
scholars of the day. His translation of the Imitation 
of Christ and of the New Testament are more esteemed 
than the versions at present in use. He is still 
remembered as preaching very "strong sermons"; 
yet he made no gestures, but stood with his hand 
stretched out and the palm upward, his eyes half 
shut. He was, however, very far from being asleep, 
as those who first saw him sometimes thought. 

It is pleasing to note that the Catholic population 
of the Braes of Mar in marked contrast with those 
of Glengairn have always numbered at least 400. This 
was the number which Bishop Nicholson found here 
in 1706, whilst in 1763 the number is given as 700 
to 800, attended by two Jesuits. In 1772 as many 
as 62 persons were confirmed by Bishop Gordon, who 
writes of this ceremony : " It was three before we could 
get ready for the function and five before we had 
done, but by presumed licence from the venerable 


gentleman at .Old Town (Rome), I even ventured 
without scruple to say Mass." 

At the present day the Catholic population of the 
district still numbers about 500, the pretty little village 
of Inverey having still the distinction of being almost 
wholly Catholic. 


BADENOCH, which extends from Craigellachie on the 
east to the confines of Lochaber on the west, is a 
district about 40 miles in length. Its breadth, from 
Mar and Atholl on the south to the watershed of 
the Findhorn in Strathdearn on the north, is about 
20 miles. Of this country the lowest level is still 
700 feet above the sea, whilst the highest point is a 
shoulder of the Braerich ridge, 4,149 feet ; and within 
2 miles is Ben Macdhui, the second loftiest peak in the 
Highlands of Scotland. 

The western portion of this district, that bordering 
on Lochaber, has long been the home of a Catholic 
population, descended for the most part from Lochaber 
ancestors, who at different times settled in the country. 
Indeed, according to the generally received opinion, 
Catholicity was almost uprooted in Badenoch after the 
so-called Eeformation, and the revival of the Catholic 
Faith in the district dates from the period when one or 
two members of the family of Keppoch occupied the 
farms of Gellovy, Aberarder, and Tullochrom on Loch 
Laggan side. These in taking possession of their farms 
were accompanied by some retainers, who in the 
course of time increased into a numerous and respectable 


congregation. So much so that from Dalchully House 
on the south side of Spey, and Coul on the north, there 
was scarcely a single non-Catholic house, except one or 
two in the little village of Crathie. At this period 
there were large Catholic tenant farmers at Dalchully 
and Coul, Sherrabeg and Sherramore, Garvabeg and 
Garvamore, besides the old-established residents at 
Gellovy, Aberarder, and Tullochrom. 

As was only to be expected, the Catholics of this 
portion of Badenoch looked with veneration on the 
remains of ancient chapels and burial-grounds, which 
were known to have existed previous to the change of 
religion. Of these the oldest is at Rabellick, on the 
north side of the Spey, about a mile above the village 
of Crathie. It is situated on the top of a small knoll 
at the side of the Markie Burn, and has slight indica 
tions of having had a rough fence of turf and stone 
around it. There are no indications of grave-stones, 
either standing or horizontal. Tradition says that it 
was last used about the time of Montrose s wars, and 
that so few able-bodied men were left in the glen that 
the women carried the bodies to the burial-place. It 
was also used at a later period for the interment of 
unbaptized infants, but not within the last hundred 
years or so. 

From the fact that when the old Crathie people fell 
out, one of their favourite maledictions was, " May you 
be buried in Rabellick," it would appear that it was 
unconsecrated ground. There is no tradition of a 
church having existed anywhere near it. 

About a mile distant is St Michael s Chapel, as the 
next oldest burial-ground is called in Gaelic. This is 


undoubtedly a very old site, and the burial-ground is 
filled with the oldest possible looking tombstones, many 
of them with rude inscriptions, not now decipherable, 
and no dates can be fixed further back than 1800, 
though all the old people say that " their forbears had 
been buried there very far back." 

In this churchyard there is a stone which deserves 
special mention, the tradition being that it marks the 
grave of a priest. It is certainly a good specimen of an 
ancient sculptured stone, and was unrecorded until 
brought to the notice of the Society of Antiquaries in 
Edinburgh by Major A. H. M Nab, to whom I am 
indebted for many interesting details of the Laggan 
of olden time. He writes that there is a curious legend 
connected with the stone. At one time it had a short 
arm at each side at the top, thus forming a rough cross. 
One of those arms had been broken off at a very distant 
date, but the broken portion is still always to be found 
resting on the top of the stone where I saw it on 
the occasion of my visit. 

It was firmly believed by the older people of the 
glen that if this piece of stone were removed to any 
other part of the churchyard, it would be invariably 
found in its usual place next morning. Several of the 
old Crathie people asserted that they had often tried it 
and found it quite true. 

Where the chapel itself stood is a matter not so easy 
to determine ; but after careful examination one is 
forced to the conclusion that it stood on a flat-topped 
knoll called the " Spardan," about fifty yards from the 
burial-place. There are distinct traces of the founda 
tion of an oblong building at this point, and the door 


appears to have been on the south side, near the west 
end, which would point to the probability that the 
altar stood at the east end, as was usual in these old 
churches. The foundations are due east and west, and 
are too large for any cottage likely to be built at that 
time. The burial-place has been used at rare intervals 
within the last half -century, and was undoubtedly 
consecrated ground. 

Next in antiquity to St Michael s is St Kenneth s ; 
and here there is no difficulty in locating the ruins, as 
the walls and one entire gable are standing within the 
churchyard. This chapel is always said to be one of 
the seven expiatory chapels built by the celebrated 
Allan-nan- Cr each Allan of the Spoils. Another of 
his chapels is that of St Cyril, in the neighbouring 
district of Lochaber. 

St Kenneth s Chapel has been a building of some 
size, and is constructed of stone and lime of excellent 
quality. The interior of the ruin has been the burial- 
place of the old Catholic families of Laggan, who still 
devoutly prefer it to any other. Here near the door 
way there exists a large font or receptacle for Holy 
Water, cut out of solid granite. When the present 
chapel of Str6n-an-Duin was being built, it was pro 
posed to remove this font to the new building, but the 
bishop decided that it was better to let it remain in 
the old site as a standing proof that the ruin had been 
a Catholic chapel. 

The burial-place has been much larger at one time, 
as many flat grave-stones exist outside the present 
enclosure, which is now very crowded. There was a 
curious old custom at funerals at St Kenneth s in 


former times. The poles which formed the bier were 
broken in two and placed at the back of a large upright 
stone near the gate, said to be the burial-place of a 
priest long ago. The stone certainly has a well-cut 
cross upon it, but no inscription is visible. No explana 
tion of this curious old custom is forthcoming. 

The next chapel seems to have been at Coil-an-Tiun, 
about two miles from St Kenneth s on the road to 
Glenshero. From the description of the old people 
who remembered the ruins, it must have been a very 
humble structure, built of dry stone and turf and 
thatched with heather. At this time there was no 
fixed residence for the priest, who lived in turn with 
the families of the better class in his congregation, as 
was then customary throughout the Highlands. 

The last of the old thatched chapels was the one 
which stood on the site of the present St Michael s. 
It is still remembered as being built of dry stone, 
plastered inside. The walls were very low and the 
earth had been excavated to give greater height, so 
that one had to descend two steps on entering. It was 
built about 1803, and was in regular use until the 
building of the present chapel. 

In those days a great many shepherds from the 
upper glen attended the chapel and brought their dogs 
with them. These often entered the chapel with their 
masters, and it was no uncommon thing for them to 
fight; their owners would then try to separate them 
with their sticks, whilst the rest of the congregation 
stood up on their seats, the priest quietly waiting until 
peace was restored and then going on with the service 
as if nothing unusual had happened. He would, it 


is true, occasionally remonstrate, but with little last 
ing effect. This recalls a case which occurred in 
Eoss-shire within the last twenty years. A minister 
had recently been appointed to the parish and had 
owed his " call " to the fact of his having acquired a 
great name as a preacher, as a cyclist, and as a good 
hand at tale and song. After the first Sunday his 
fame went abroad as a great preacher, and the follow 
ing " Sabbath " the kirk was crowded with shepherds 
from the distant straths and glens with their full 
retinue of collie dogs. Whilst the minister was 
engaged in his sermon, the dogs began to fight in 
different quarters of the church, whilst under the very 
shadow of the pulpit a collie and a terrier were 
fighting their liveliest. The people nearest beat the 
dogs with sticks, shouting their loudest, " Thig stigh gu 
mo chois ! " " Come to heel ! " and caused such an up 
roar that the minister ceased from his sermon with 
the words : " My brethren, I see you re more interested 
in the dog fight than in the Word of God, but to show 
that I am in sympathy with you, I ll bet a bob on the 

The present chapel at Str6n an Duin (the point of 
the Fort) was erected in the palmy days of the Laggan 
mission, when the many neighbouring farmers were 
well able to contribute a large amount of labour in 
carting, quarrying, and other manual work. Foremost 
amongst these was Mr John M Nab, of Dalchully, 
who took a leading part in designing and carrying the 
work into effect. The result was a chapel of most 
pleasing proportions, in a situation which it would be 
difficult to equal for picturesqueness. Above is the 


ancient Celtic Fort one of the most perfect in 
Scotland situated at the top of a precipitous cliff, 
which rises to the height of 600 feet above the plain. 
The hill is now beautifully wooded, so that it is 
difficult to gain a view of the chapel until one is 
almost within a stone s throw of it. 

Shortly after the completion of the chapel, Mr 
M Nab, of Dalchully, was successful in collecting 
funds for the erection of a bridge over the Spey to 
enable the inhabitants on the north side of the river 
to get to the church in comfort. Previous to this 
there was no way of getting across to the chapel, 
except by fording the river a severe ordeal in winter 
or when the river was in flood. Indeed even now, 
since the bridge is only for foot-passengers, dog-carts 
and carriages have to be driven across the ford, which 
at Sherrabeg is fully 100 yards wide. 

Close to the present chapel flows the little Mashie 
river, and about two miles up the valley there is a small 
ravine, called the priest s hollow or den. There is a 
tradition that in the times of persecution the priest 
hid there, and used to say Mass in the open air, when 
opportunity offered. It is a place admirably suited 
for concealment, and one can picture the hardy old 
Highland men and women kneeling amongst the rocks 
and heather at the services of the Church they loved 
so well and truely. 

^Regarding the priests who served the mission of 
Badenoch, these for a long time came from Lochaber, 
and it is well known that Kevs. John Macdonald, 
Eneas Gillis, and M Kenna, paid frequent visits to 
the district. The first priest permanently stationed 


in Badenoch was Eev. Alex. M Donell, who was a native 
of Glengarry and afterwards became Bishop of Kingston 
in Upper Canada. The year in which he came to 
Badenoch is uncertain, but he left it in May 1792. 

After his departure the mission seems to have been 
vacant for about a year, when a successor was appointed 
in the person of Eev. Eoderick M Donald, a native of 
South Uist and a scion of the House of Clanranald. 
Mr M Donald remained in Badenoch until May 1803, 
when he was removed to South Uist, and had charge 
of the Ardkenneth and Benbecula congregations until 
his death in 1828. 

The next priest in succession was Father Evan 
M Eachan, who had charge of this congregation for 
three years, 1803-1806. It was he who built the 
chapel at Stron an Duin the predecessor of the 
present church and was remarkable for his knowledge 
of Mathematics and of the Gaelic language. 

Father M Eachan was known amongst his brethren 
as "Old Eoules" (rules). The late Father David 
Macdonald, the much respected Eector of Valladolid, 
used to give the following origin for this nick-name. 
Father M Eachan was perhaps the very first priest in 
the Highlands to wear a top-hat, and there was a 
standing rule in Blairs at the time that whenever a 
cleric with a top-hat appeared, the boys shelved their 
books the wearer of the hat had the privilege of facing 
the President to ask a holiday. Father M Eachan, on 
his arrival on a visit, was duly informed of the custom, 
but before approaching the great man in the Chamber 
of Horrors, he insisted on seeing it so nominated in the 
" Eoules," a stiffness which was not at all to the boys 

VOL. I, I 


After Father M Eachan came Father William 
Chisholm (1806-1811), who continued in Badenoch for 
five years, and after his removal to Lochaber where 
he died in 1826 had still charge of the Catholics of 
Badenoch, until the appointment to that mission of 
Father Donald Forbes in 1816. Father Forbes, how 
ever, had at the same time the charge of the missions of 
Glengarry, Glenmoriston, and Stratherrick a terrible 
labour for any one man. Indeed in later life he would 
tell of the fatigues of his journeys during these years 
as of experiences never to be forgotten. Those who 
have journeyed as the present writer did at the time 
he was engaged on these pages through Badenoch in 
the midst of winter, with the wind bearing its heavy 
burden of drifting snow, will realise what it must have 
meant to serve these missions once in the month, and 
to pass the twenty miles from one to the other during 
the week. The road over Corryarrick, which the good 
priest must often have walked, rises to the height of 
2,500 feet, and although it is a memorial to the genius 
of General Wade, yet the storms, which almost invari 
ably meet the wayfarer as he crosses the ridge, make 
the journey one not lightly to be undertaken. 

Indeed on one occasion, on 27th December 1819, 
Father Forbes is remembered to have crossed the hill 
when the storm was so severe that he took with him 
four men and a pony. As the snow became deeper 
and deeper they lost the road, and in this predicament 
they placed the pony in front and marched in single 
file, the foremost man holding on to the pony s tail, 
trusting that the animal s instinct would bring it 
through, as indeed it did. This was considered the 

" 2 

tf -= 

= 1 


greatest feat of this worthy priest s many stormy 

From 1824-1827 Father Angus M Donald was in 
charge of the Badenoch mission, and he in turn was 
succeeded by Father Eonald Eankin, who remained till 
1838. It was through his zeal and indomitable energy 
in travelling about collecting subscriptions that the 
money was collected with which the present church 
was built. He was one of the best and most popular 
priests that ever came to the parish, with both rich 
and poor. According to the description of one well 
acquainted with the old traditions, " he was a little wee 
man like myself, but awful quick and very good at the 
shinty." Before the completion of the chapel, however, 
Father Eankin was removed to Moidart, whence he 
later emigrated with a large part of his exiled crofter 
congregation to Australia. Father Eankin, however, 
was granted the favour of saying the first Mass on a 
temporary altar in the new chapel, in the erection of 
which he had had so large a share. 

The next priest was Father Charles Macdonald, who 
was the last to say Mass in the old thatched chapel. 
Father Macdonald was an eccentric, but worthy old 
man, with a singularly fine presence and most polished 
manner, which he had acquired in Spain, where he was 
educated. He had a tall, erect figure, very spare, and 
was always a perfect picture of neatness in his dress. 
He ruled his congregation with a firm hand, and had 
a very pessimist opinion of their spiritual condition, 
which led him at frequent intervals to inform them 
when he was preaching, that they were certainly the 
worst congregation in the diocese, and that he had 


but limited hopes of their future welfare. Knowing 
his many good qualities, his people received his 
denunciations with amusement, and without a trace 
of resentment. 

In 1845 Father M Nab succeeded. He was a 
relative of the family at Dalchully, but remained in 
Badenoch only two years, when he removed to Airdrie, 
and thence to Australia. Here he is still remembered 
as doing most excellent work amongst the aborigines, 
and died in 1896, greatly esteemed by those who knew 
him. Amongst these was the priest with whom he was 
living, who relates that the old man, though still hale 
and vigorous, one day begged the younger priest not to 
go on the day s journey which his office of military 
chaplain required of him. The younger man expostu 
lated for some time, but Father M Nab insisted that he 
would die that day at two o clock. Seeing the old 
priest so decided, and well knowing that at his age 
a sudden collapse was by no means impossible, my 
informant decided to stay and to put off the journey. 
Soon after midday the old man sickened, and after 
receiving the last Sacraments, passed quietly away. 

The last priest with whom we have to deal is Father 
Alex. Campbell, who, in strange contrast to all who 
preceded or followed him, resided in Badenoch the long 
period of twenty-three years. It was he who opened a 
small chapel at Kingussie, " the capital of Badenoch," 
where Mass has been said at intervals for the past fifty 
years. This primitive little chapel, to which the approach 
is up a flight of stairs at the back of the house, will shortly 
be replaced by one more suitable to the times, for which 
the present incumbent earnestly desires assistance. 


Father Campbell s memory is still in great veneration 
with both Catholics and Protestants, and many are the 
tales that are ascribed to him, as he chatted with the 
good folk in their quiet homes, or at the festive 
meetings which ended the shinty matches and other 
festive gatherings. A few are given below. One of 
his stories is that of the Lismore students. As is well 
known, there was long a college here it was united 
with Blairs College in 1829. One time the old house 
keeper, who was no great favourite with the boys, fell 
ill, and as she lay on her sick-bed, some of the students 
gained access to the room, and after condoling with the 
patient, pretended to say the Litany for the Dying. 
Their Litany took the following form : 

"A Phegaidh, ruadh, chruaidh, chrosd, 

S fhior sin, s fhior sin. 
Tha 3 m bas ga d iarraidh, 

S fhior sin, s fhior sin. 
Bho nach toir thu biadh dhuinn, 

S fhior sin, s fhior sin." 

which may be rendered in similar school-boy fashion : 

" Peggie carping, crusty, cross, 

That thou art, that thou art. 
Because of food thou wast so stingy, 
That thou wast, that thou wast, 
The hand of death is close upon thee, 
That it is, that it is." 

The first few words drew tears from the poor house 
keeper, but at the last lines she gave a shriek of 
despair, which brought the Rector hurrying to the 
room, only, of course, to find the boys fled and the poor 
creature in the depths of misery. 


Alastair Mor used to boast of his devotion to Cluny 
Macpherson the chief of the Clan Chattan and long 
the owner of the greater part of Badenoch. After 
often hearing his retainer boast of what he was ready 
to do for the laird, Cluny himself one day asked 
Alastair : " Well, Sandy, and whom do you like best> 
Cluny or the Almighty ? " " Weel, Cluny," said Sandy, 
" by your leave, I m better acquaint with yourself than 
with the other." 

Another of his tales was the following : " A conceited 
young lassie in the district, whose father had risen from 
the despised occupation of packman to that of farmer, 
one day got angry with her companion, whose family 
had long resided on one of the best crofts in the place. 
The girl s abusive language took somewhat of the 
following form : You nasty, low creature ! why, it s in 
a wee black house that your father stays. It may be 
in a wee black house that my father stays, replied her 
companion, but my father canna carry his house on 
his back, as yours did awhile ago. " 

Of the chief families who owned the land in the 
parish of Laggan, the Dukes of Gordon held, of course, 
the foremost position, and ever showed the greatest 
friendliness to the large tenant farmers or tacksmen, 
and the greatest consideration to the numerous crofter 
families. In bad seasons, when these needed help, it 
was freely given, and it was under the liberal and 
kindly ownership of the Gordons that Laggan attained 
its maximum of population and of prosperity. From 
the day the property passed from the Gordons, 
decadence set in, and judging from present appear 
ances, the present generation will see the last of 


Catholic Laggan, and the chapel will be without a 

Cluny Macpherson was the next largest proprietor 
in the district. Of the sufferings of Cluny of the 45 
we cannot treat here, but the whole district is full of 
memories of him. For nine years he wandered without 
home or shelter in the mountain fastnesses of Badenoch, 
taking refuge in caves amongst the rocks and enduring 
the most terrible hardships, which his wife to a great 
extent shared with him. So watchful and alert were 
his clansmen in the way of ascertaining and apprising 
their " outlawed " chief of the movements of the enemy, 
that during that long period he succeeded, with many 
almost miraculous escapes, in eluding the unceasing 
viligance and activity of his pursuers. 

One of his most memorable escapes was at Dalchully 
House, where there still exists a secret cellar, about 
seven feet square. In this the fugitive chief often 
took shelter. On one occasion, Sir Hector Munro, the 
commander of the party in search of the " arch-rebel," 
called at the house, when Cluny himself appeared as 
the scalag, or herd-boy, and actually held Sir Hector s 
horse. The gallant officer asked whether he knew 
where Cluny was : " I do not know, and if I did, I 
would not tell you," replied the would-be herd. The 
officer was so pleased with the honest answer that he 
gave the herd a shilling. This tale has been well repro 
duced in the handsome piece of silver plate presented 
to the late chief on his golden wedding. 

Cluny Castle, the residence of the chief, is full of 
relics of Prince Charlie and his times. Here is the 
Prince s targe which he used at Culloden, his two 


pistols and sword, his lace ruff and sleeve-links, besides 
the more important ones, viz., a letter of the Prince 
inviting Cluny to join his standard, and another 
authorising him to raise a regiment in his service. 

There is a pretty story current of the affection of 
the Prince for his two most devoted adherents, Cameron 
of Lochiel and Cluny Macpherson. As the Prince was 
leaving Scotland for France, he searched for one last 
token to bestow upon them, but the only thing which 
could be found was the musket which he still carried. 
To divide this between the two was no easy matter, 
but the Prince without much difficulty detached the 
lock, which he bestowed on Cluny, and gave the stock 
and barrel to Lochiel. 

To pass on to the large tenant farmers, or tacksmen, 
the oldest Catholic family were the Macdonalds of 
Gellovy. They had settled on Loch Laggan side as 
early as 1602, Allan Macdonald I. of Gellovy being 
grandson of Ranald Glass of Keppoch. In the Eising 
of 1716 we are told : " As the army passed through 
Badenoch an uncivil return was given to a message 
sent from the General by Macdonald of Gellovy upon 
Loch Spie in Laggan ; whereupon a detachment of 
200 men was sent to that country, who burnt his 
house and corn, killed all his sheep, and carried off 
his cows." 1 Macdonald of Gellovy, who had fought 
at Sherriffmuir, was crippled financially by these severe 
measures and sold his property to his cousin Donald, 
whose grandchildren at the beginning of last century 
emigrated to Australia, after the family had been 
settled at Gellovy over two hundred years. 

1 Letter of Mr Robert Baillie, Inverness, 6th April 1716. 


Half a century after the settlement at Gellovy, 
Donald Macdonald, great - grandson of Eanald of 
Keppoch, settled at Aberarder. Of this family the 
best known to history was Eanald, who joined Prince 
Charlie at Glenfinnan, fought at Prestonpans and 
Falkirk, and joined the march into England. He 
sheltered the Prince for a night on his way to join 
Cluny in his extraordinary retreat known as "The 
Cage," on Ben Alder, and from him the Prince accepted 
a change of garments to ensure disguise. Aberarder 
was included in the Forfeited Estates Act, and though 
he contested the case before the Court of Session 
and the House of Lords, he finally lost his lands. 

Another old Catholic family were the Macdonalds 
of Tullochrom, who were also a branch of the 
Macdonells of Keppoch, and like all that clan were 
staunch Catholics and devoted Jacobites, losing their 
estates through participation in the Eising of 1745. 
Alastair Ban, second son of John Macdonald of 
Aberarder, settled at Tullochcrom about the year 1700. 
His son Alexander, by his third marriage, had four 
soldier sons out of five, viz., Eanald, a captain in the 
Gordon Highlanders. He was at Waterloo, and saw 
besides a good deal of service in India and Ceylon, 
where he greatly distinguished himself. The fort, 
which he saved from the rebels, was named after him, 
Fort Macdonald ; Allan, who was also a captain in 
the Gordon Highlanders ; Archibald, an officer in the 
Army, who left issue in America ; Donald, a captain 
in the Army ; Angus, who went to America. Such 
soldier families were not uncommon in this district, 
and indeed in many parts of the Highlands, at a time 


when the wars with Napoleon called forth the whole 
energy of the nation. It is said that there were at 
this time 35,000 Highlanders on active service. 

The Macdonalds of Garvabeg were a younger branch 
of the Tullochcrom family, and the last of them married 
Charlotte, youngest daughter of Alexander Macdonell 
of Keppoch, who was killed at Culloden. This lady 
was called Charlotte in honour of Prince Charles, who 
was staying at Keppoch when she was born. 

Garvabeg s daughter, Jessie, married John M Nab 
of Shennagart in Argyllshire, and after their marriage 
they came to live at Sherrabeg. Their son also took 
the farm of Dalchully, but he and his brother, who 
had succeeded to Sherrabeg, became involved in money 
difficulties, which forced them to withdraw from the 

The Macdonalds of Garvamore were another old 
Catholic family, closely related to the two last named. 
The old house at Garvamore, which at one time was 
an inn, is of interest as having been built by General 
Wade at the time he was making his great road over 
Corryarrick. Over this road a carriage and four could 
pass without difficulty, and the celebrated Glengarry 
is known often to have driven across when visiting 
Badenoch, whilst the well at the top is still known as 
Lady Glengarry s Well. 

An anecdote characteristic of the times is told of 
the house at Garvamore. Half a century ago it was 
the residence of a much respected Catholic family, 
who were justly proud of their distant home amid 
wild and romantic scenery. They had often spoken 
of its charms to one of their relatives resident in the 


south of England. At their earnest entreaty he one 
year came up to visit them at the Garvamore of which 
he had heard so much. Arriving late in the evening, 
he saw little of the surroundings till morning, when, 
before breakfast, he strolled round the place. Three 
times he sadly walked all round the house, and at 
last was heard to repeat to himself : " Good God ! 
good God ! Is this Garvamore ? " This, however, was 
at a time when the Highland houses were built for 
warmth and comfort, and intended to be lived in 
throughout the year. They were often small enough, 
and wanting in architectural beauty ; but to those 
who knew the storms which raged around them, they 
were far dearer than the stately mansions which have 
since appeared in almost every district. Indeed, to 
those who know the Highlands, year in year out, 
there is no more cold and dismal object than the 
" Shooting Lodge " in winter, or even in spring, with 
its air of desolation, its blinds drawn down, its gates 
often locked, as though it were no part of the life 
around it. 

Another family of influence were the Macdonalds of 
Sherrabeg. They were originally M Killops, but took 
the name Macdonald on their marrying into the 
Keppoch family. Closely related to them were the 
Macdonalds of Coul, from whom was Colonel Eeginald 
Macdonald. As a young man he attracted the attention 
of "the friend of the Highland soldier," the Marquis 
of Huntly, then commanding his regiment the 92nd. 
From various appointments Macdonald rose to the post 
of Adjutant-General of the Bombay Presidency, but 
died 31st May 1848, at the early age of fifty-four. He 


had seen much active service in India, besides having 
been wounded at Waterloo. In India he was greatly 
beloved and esteemed, so that a comrade in arms related 
that " a more excellent man in every relation I never 
knew." He was devotedly attached to his native 
parish, and sent a sum of money every year to the 
poor of Laggan. When the last of his sisters died, the 
Colonel s portrait was sent from Coul to Cluny Castle 
and hung there in a prominent place. This portrait 
proves Colonel Macdonald to have been of fine physique 
and handsome features, a worthy type of the many 
gallant officers whom the district produced at the time 
of the French wars and later. The following lines, 
placed over the grave of another devoted soldier-son 
of Laggan, might well have adorned the tomb of Colonel 
Eeginald Macdonald : 

" Lord, whilst for all mankind we pray, 

Of every clime and coast, 
Oh, hear us for our native land, 
The land we love the most. 

" Our fathers sepulchres are here, 
And here our kindred dwell, 
Our children, too ; how shall we love 
Another land as well." 

These lines remind one of the poetic genius, who is 
perhaps the greatest pride of Laggan, Mrs Annie Grant, 
wife of the parish minister. The daughter of the 
barrack-master at Fort Augustus, she married the 
chaplain of the garrison there, who in 1779 was 
appointed to the charge of Laggaii, where Mrs Grant 
spent over twenty years of married life. From Laggan 


she wrote her " Letters from the Highlands " and the 
greater part of her poems, all of which breathe a purity 
of idea and a devotion to her native scenes which 
make them most delightful reading even after a century 
has passed. The now popular song, of which the author 
ship and the scenes are often enough overlooked, is so 
full of memories of Laggan and of the splendid men 
it gave to Britain, that it will find a fitting place in 
these pages : 

" Oh, where, tell me where, is your Highland Laddie gone ? 
Oh, where, tell me where, is your Highland Laddie gone ? 
He s gone with streaming banners, where noble deeds are done, 
And my sad heart will tremble till he come safely home. 
He s gone with streaming banners, where noble deeds are done, 
And my sad heart will tremble till he come safely home. 

" Oh, where, tell me where, did your Highland Laddie stay ? 
Oh, where, tell me where, did your Highland Laddie stay ? 
He dwelt beneath the holly trees, beside the rapid Spey, 
And many a blessing followed him, the day he went away. 
He dwelt beneath the holly trees, beside the rapid Spey, 
And many a blessing followed him, the day he went away. 

" Oh, what, tell me what, does your Highland Laddie wear ? 
Oh, what, tell me what, does your Highland Laddie wear ? 
A bonnet with a lofty plume, the gallant badge of war, 
And a plaid across the manly breast that yet shall wear a star. 
A bonnet with a lofty plume, the gallant badge of war, 
And a plaid across the manly breast that yet shall wear a star. 

" Suppose, ah, suppose that some cruel, cruel wound 
Should pierce your Highland Laddie, and all your hopes 

confound ! 
The pipe would play a cheering march, the banners round him 


The spirit of a Highland chief would lighten in his eye. 


The pipe would play a cheering march, the banners round him 


And for his King and country dear with pleasure he would die ! 

" But I will hope to see him yet in Scotland s bonny bounds : 
But I will hope to see him yet in Scotland s bonny bounds ; 
His native land of liberty shall nurse his glorious wounds, 
While wide through all our Highland hills his warlike name 

resounds ! 

His native land of liberty shall nurse his glorious wounds, 
While wide through all our Highland hills his warlike name 


The nobleman in whose honour these lines were 
written did indeed return to "Scotland s bonny bounds," 
where he later succeeded his father as fifth and last 
Duke of Gordon. Not only his warlike name, but 
his kindness and hospitality also, resounded far beyond 
his own possessions in Badenoch and the other High 
land districts, where he was immensely popular. 

But to return to the tenant farmers of Laggan. 
Many are the tales related of Mr John M Nab 
Dalchully, he was generally called. At one time he 
attained to no small prosperity, and was accustomed 
to drive a very fine pair of greys the twenty-four miles 
into Kingussie and back. Nothing pleased him better 
than to meet Cluny on the road, for then he would 
whip up bis pair, and with a deal of whistling and a 
grand hallabaloo, would pass the chief, wbose quiet 
pair were no match for Dalchully s. After driving 
on a mile, he would slow down and let Cluny pass 
him. Then for a second and third time he would 
whip up his horses and pass the laird, between whom 
and himself there was little love lost, 


Another time Richard Hobb his mother had the 
hotel at Kingussie was driving along a narrow and 
dangerous piece of road. Cluny came up behind and 
whistled and shouted, but all to no effect, for Hobb 
pretended not to know it was the chief who wanted 
to pass. At last they reached the entrance to Cluny 
Castle, when the laird shouted to Hobb and demanded 
who he was that thus stopped the road : " Ah, Laird, 
Laird," said Richard," I was thinking it was M Nab and 
his pair that were in it." "Did you now," replied 
Cluny ; " and here s half a crown for your trouble." 

There was considerable jealousy between Dalchully 
and Macdonald of Strathmashie, a large farmer a mile 
or more distant. At a sale of furniture in some small 
cottage Dalchully bid 5s. for an old chair that 
was certainly worth no more. Strathmashie bid 6s., 
which so annoyed Dalchully that he went on with his 
bidding until 5 was reached, when the chair was 
knocked down to Strathmashie. " Ah, ah ! Macdonald 
Strathmashie," shouted Dalchully before all the com 
pany, " you ve got the chair, and a fine price you ve 
had to pay for it." 

The old tenant farmers are, however, all out of the 
district now. They had lived over a century on their 
lands, but they gave way in the middle of last century 
to large sheep farmers from the south, who offered high 
rents for the lands, but had no interest in the district. 
It has been truly said that these seldom got much 
benefit, only a very few seeing the end of their leases. 

From the tenant farmers, if we pass to the crofter 
population, the same story has to be told. Many of 
them were of very old descent, and often nearly related 


to the upper classes, but few of them are now repre 
sented in the chapel. They either died out or emigrated, 
when their holdings were at once put under sheep or 
deer. The Catholic hamlets had indeed at one time been 
numerous in the Upper Glen. Achnashellach at one 
time had probably twelve or fourteen families ; not a 
vestige now remains except a few stones to mark its site. 
Western Crathie had about an equal number, now only 
two houses remain. Sherradune had a dozen families 
at least not a house remains. Sherramore had eight 
or ten families none remain. Garvabeg had several 
families only a shepherd s house remains. Easter 
Crathie had thirty or more houses ; at present about 
eight remain. 

Of these, inhabitants of a once productive and prosper 
ous district, many have emigrated in the hope of doing 
better a hope in which we all unite. But many have 
undoubtedly done worse, and at present one cannot help 
feeling that the days will soon come back when the 
holdings in the upper valley of the Spey will again be 
tenanted, and the homes which produced so many gallant 
officers and such numbers of the best rank and file will 
again be the happy scenes of youthful mirth and of 
joyous gatherings, so that the lines, already quoted, 
on the tomb of the old soldier in Laggan Churchyard 
may again come true : 

" Our fathers sepulchres are here, 
And here our kindred dwell, 
Our children, too ; how shall we love 
Another land as well." 


" Lochaber, dear Lochaber, 

Thy wooded glens and braes, 
Teem with the tales of chivalry 
That speak of other days. 

" Across the hazy distance 

Thy children look and long, 
For thy spell is found resistless, 

And their hearts beat true and strong." 

Miss ALICE MACDONELL, of Keppoch, 
Loyal Lochaber, xxvii. 

TRULY do the Glens and Braes of old Lochaber teem 
with the tales of chivalry, for from the year 1431 the 
date of the first battle of Inverlochy till 1746 the 
year of Culloden the men of Lochaber had little other 
occupation than that of defending their own bounds, 
or of carrying on war beyond the limits of their own 

Having in the previous chapters dealt almost ex 
clusively with the ecclesiastical history of the several 
districts, it will not be out of place to take a some 
what lengthy survey of the history of Lochaber. This 
will enable the reader to understand better the life 

VOL. i. 145 K 


throughout the whole of the Highlands during this 
period, for if the restless spirit was rather more preva 
lent in Lochaber than elsewhere, the difference was 
only one of degree, and that probably not very marked. 

During these three hundred years the chief families 
of Lochaber, the Camerons, under their chief Lochiel, 
and the Macdonalds, under the Laird of Keppoch, were 
generally found fighting side by side. Indeed, the 
sympathies of the two clans were largely the same. 
Both were ardent Jacobites, both had long-standing 
enmity against the Earls of Argyle and the Clan 
Campbell. Moreover, even in religion there were 
often good reasons for united action, the Camerons 
having been Catholic for several generations after the 
Eeformation, whilst later they were supporters of the 
Episcopal Church of Scotland against the Covenant ; 
whilst the Macdonalds were always staunch " Papists." 
Indeed the Camerons, surrounded as they were on 
three sides by the great Catholic clans of the 
Macdonalds of Clanranald, Glengarry, and Keppoch, 
had early learned those principles of toleration which 
distinguished many districts of the Highlands long 
before they were known elsewhere in Britain. 

The battle of Inveiiochy mentioned above was 
followed in 1460 by that at Corpach on Loch Eil side, 
in which the Camerons drove the intruded M Leans 
from the lands which the former have not ceased to 
occupy down to the present day. In 1493 Alex. 
Macdonald, Lord of the Isles, and Donald, of Keppoch, 
his cousin, were forfeited for rebellion, and the ancient 
title of the Lord of the Isles was suppressed. Twelve 
years later, Donald Dubh of the Isles again rose in 


rebellion to recover his forfeited title and possessions, 
and Donald Glas, of Keppoch, supported him. They 
marched through Badenoch, which they laid waste, 
and reaching Inverness destroyed it by fire. It needed 
the utmost efforts on the part of King James IV. to 
put down this revolt from his authority ; but at last 
Donald Dubh was taken prisoner and his forfeited 
lands were given to other Highland chiefs. It was 
Donald Glas, above mentioned, who built the old castle 
of Keppoch, which stood on Tom Beag at the foot of 
the Eiver Koy, where it joins the Spean, close to the 
site where his descendants, three hundred years later, 
built the present house of Keppoch. 

It was immediately after the insurrection of Donald 
Dubh that the Gordons began to acquire influence in 
Lochaber, an influence which in this, as well as in 
so large a portion of the Highlands of Scotland, was 
to have a large share in saving the Catholic Faith 
from total extinction in those parts. Alexander, Earl 
of Huntly, at once restored the Castle of Inverlochy, 
a fortress which was long the key to the military 
power of Lochaber, until it was superseded by the one 
which gave its name to the present town of Fort 

In 1544 George Gordon, Earl of Huntly, tried to 
enforce the claims of Eanald Galda to the chieftain 
ship of Clanranald, claims which were resisted by the 
majority of the clansmen, to whom support was rendered 
by Kanald Macdonell, Chief of Keppoch, Alaster 
Macdonald, of Glengarry, and by the Camerons under 
Lochiel. On the other hand, Huntly had the support 
of the Erasers, amongst whom Eanald Galda had been 


educated, of the Grants of Strathspey and Glemnori- 
ston, and of a large number of the Mackintoshes from 
Badenoch. A show of submission was made to the 
authority of Huntly, who thereupon departed with 
part of his forces, leaving the Erasers and the Grants 
to make their way home through Glen Mor. At the 
far end of Loch Lochy these two clans were met by 
the whole body of the Macdonalds, whom they had 
considered disbanded, and a battle one of the most 
sanguinary in the history of the Highlands took place. 
From the fact that the July heat made the combatants 
doff the major part of their garments, this battle has 
been ever after known as Blar nan leine (the Battle of 
the Shirts). Lord Lovat, his eldest son, and over eighty 
gentlemen of the clan were massacred, besides a great 
host of their followers. 

The unhappy cause of the dispute, Kanald Galda, was 
slain by treachery, whilst the leaders of the victorious 
side, Lochiel, Keppoch, and Iain Moirdartach of Clan- 
ranald, were outlawed at the instigation of Huntly. 
The last - named chief succeeded in gaining Castle 
Tirrim, from which he could laugh at all efforts to 
dislodge him, but the other two were taken prisoners 
and executed at Elgin in 1547. 

Another chief of Keppoch whom good fortune alone 
saved from a similar fate was Alasdair nan Cleas 
(Alexander of the Tricks). He is said to have been 
educated in Home, and was one of the most accom 
plished men of his day. Indeed, his dexterity in tricks 
of conjuring procured for him his by-name "Nan 
Cleas," as well as the less desirable reputation for 
sorcery, which he was said to have learned during his 


stay abroad. "The stormy career of this rebellious 
chief" 1 opened with his entering heartily into the 
quarrel between the Earls of Huntly and Moray. In 
1588 letters of fire and sword were granted against 
him to Huntly, who, however, preferred to protect his 
allies of Lochaber in order to play them off against his 
personal enemies. In 1592 Alexander of Keppoch laid 
waste the lands of the Grants and of the Mackintoshes, 
and again a commission of fire and sword against him 
was granted to Lord Lovat, Mackintosh, Grant of 
Freuchie, etc. In 1594 Keppoch was present at the 
battle of Glenlivet, where the Earl of Argyle, the 
King s Lieutenant, was defeated. Again in 1602 
Keppoch was denounced rebel for hership and fire- 
raising at Moy, the residence of Mackintosh ; whilst 
in 1608 a remission was granted him under the Privy 
Seal of a very serious catalogue of crimes, namely, 
slaughter at Strathardle and Glenshee, slaughter in the 
town of Inverness, and the burning of the house of the 
Commissary, fire-raising in Athole, and the burning of 
the house of Neil Stewart MacGillechallum, in which 
perished John Dow MacGillechallum. 

In 1615 this same chief was the principal agent in 
the escape of Sir James Macdonald of Dunnyveg from 
Edinburgh Castle ; and having supported Sir James in 
his rebellion, a reward of no less than 5,000 merks 
each was offered for Keppoch and his son, dead or 
alive, so that these two were both forced to seek refuge 
on the Continent. In 1620 they returned to London, 
however, and were received into the favour of King 

1 "The Clan Donald," Rev. A. & A. Macdonald, vol. ii. p. 618 
et seq. 


James, this time for disclosing to the English Govern 
ment the details of a contemplated Spanish invasion. 
Alexander of Keppoch was now allowed to return to 
Lochaber, where he lived in peace during the rest of 
his life. 

It is of him that the story of the candlesticks is told. 
On his return from exile in Spain, he was entertained 
at the house of an English gentleman, who had been 
the companion of his college days. While they sat at 
dinner, the conversation turned on the massive plate 
displayed by the host, amongst which were some very 
handsome silver candlesticks, of rare workmanship 
and of great value. The host drew the attention of 
Keppoch to them, rer arking that in his Highland 
home he could not boact of such magnificent candle 
sticks. Keppoch replied by saying that in his house 
he could produce candlesticks that surpassed them far, 
both in beauty of design and in intrinsic value, and 
if he could not prove his assertion he was prepared 
to pay three times the value of the candlesticks. In 
course of time, on Keppoch s return home, his English 
friend was a guest at his house, when he reminded 
him of his boasted candlesticks and his wager. " You 
shall see them immediately," replied Keppoch. Dinner 
soon followed, when into the banqueting-hall marched 
twelve stalwart Highlanders in their picturesque native 
garb, and ranging themselves round the hall, they held 
aloft flaming pine torches. " These are my candle 
sticks," observed the proud chief, " and all the gold in 
England would not buy them." The Englishman at 
once acknowledged that he had lost the wager. 

This brief sketch of the life and exploits of Alexander 


To face page 150. 


of Keppoch will serve as a sample of the lives of the 
Lochaber chieftains. The cultured tastes which they 
acquired had a difficult task to overcome the savage 
disposition which their constant warfare fostered, and 
hence the extraordinary contrasts which these men 
exhibited even at the time of the Eising of 1745. 

In 1613 the Chief of the Camerons was by fraud 
won over to submit to the overlordship of Argyle in 
opposition to that of Huntly. A large part of the clan, 
however, refused to follow their chief in this alliance 
with the hereditary enemy of their race, and declared 
their adhesion to Huntly. They even plotted the death 
of Lochiel, who would undoubtedly have fallen a victim, 
had he not got wind of the conspiracy, and coming to 
the meeting-place with a large body of retainers, over 
powered the malcontents. For this he, as well as 
Macdonell of Keppoch, was outlawed, but on the death 
of Mackintosh always a willing party in foment 
ing discord in Lochaber the outlawed chiefs were 

From mere clan battles, such as the preceding, the 
warriors of Lochaber now became engaged in the 
national quarrel between King and Covenant. It 
would appear that Charles I. was in the early years of 
his reign beloved by the bulk of the people of Scotland, 
who would not have been averse to Church Govern 
ment by bishops. But such an idea meant that the 
nobles would be called upon to disgorge the rich lands 
which they had seized from the Church, and they were 
in consequence much opposed to it. Then followed the 
unwise proceedings of Archbishop Laud, who sought 
to force the English Church liturgy on the Church 


of Scotland. In self - defence the Presbyterians of 
Scotland bound themselves by oath to eradicate 
prelacy, and to defend their separate church. This 
bond was known as the National Covenant, and was 
signed by rich and poor throughout Scotland. Amongst 
those who signed it was James Graham the " Great 
Marquis " of Montrose a man whose history appeals 
so strongly to the sympathy of the Highlander, be 
he Catholic or non- Catholic. Indeed to the Catholic 
Highlander he is the " beau ideal " of the cavalier who 
defended what he thought to be the right, was willing 
to sever himself from the Covenant when he found it to 
be disloyal to the King, and continued in unswerving 
fidelity to the throne, until he died excommunicated 
by the Kirk of Scotland a martyr on the scaffold for 
his principles. 

And indeed few characters can more justly lay claim 
to be a " beau ideal." Here is a description of him at 
the age of twenty : " a bodie not tall, but comely and 
well composed in all his lineaments ; his complexion 
nearly whitee with flaxin haire; of a stayed, grave, 
and solide looke, and yet his eyes sparkling, and full of 
lyfe ; of speache slowe, but wittie and full of sence ; 
a presence graitfull, courtly, and so winneing upon 
the beholders, as it seemed to claim reverence without 
sewing for it." Of his military exploits the following 
are the more noticeable. In 1639 he, in command of 
the forces of the Covenant, took the town of Aberdeen, 
which he obliged to accept the Covenant. Lord Aboyne 
in the next year being sent against him, Montrose 
defeated him totally at Bridge of Dee. In 1640 he 
had command of two regiments in the army which 


marched into England. He led the van of that army 
across the Tweed, when, alighting from his horse, he 
marched through the river on foot, and contributed to 
the victory at Newburn, 28th August 1640. In 1644 
he was in command of the King s forces, and was in 
consequence excommunicated by the General Assembly 
of the Kirk. In May 1644 he was raised to the 
dignity of Marquis, routed the parliamentary garrison 
at Morpeth, and threw provisions into Newcastle ; on 
the defeat of Prince Eupert at Marston Moor he left 
his men with that General, and returned to Scotland 
to recruit further forces for the King. 

Disguised as a groom, with only two attendants, 
Montrose arrived in Strathearn, where he continued 
until rumour announced the approach of 1,500 Irish, 
who, after ravaging the extreme north of Argyllshire, 
had traversed the extensive range of Lochaber and 
Badenoch. On descending into Atholl in August 1644 
they were surprised by the unexpected appearance of 
their General, Montrose, in the garb of a mountaineer, 
with a single attendant, but his name was sufficient 
to increase his army to 3,000 men. He attacked an 
army of the Covenanters of over 6,000 foot and horse 
at Tippermuir, in Perthshire, totally routed them, and 
took their artillery and baggage, without losing a man. 
Perth immediately surrendered to him, but on the 
approach of Argyle, Montrose abandoned that place 
and went north. He defeated the Covenanters under 
Lord Lewis Gordon at the Bridge of Dee, and continued 
the pursuit to the gates of Aberdeen, which the victors 
entered with the vanquished. 

As Argyle was advancing with a superior force, 


Montrose retreated northward, expecting the support 
of the Gordons. But in this he was disappointed, and 
finding the banks of the Spey guarded, he retreated 
over the mountains into Badenoch, burying his artillery 
in a morass. He next descended into Atholl and 
Angus, pursued by Argyle, but by a sudden march 
repassed the Grampians and returned to rouse the 
Gordons to arms. At Fyvie he was almost surprised 
by Argyle, but he maintained a situation advantage 
ously chosen against the reiterated attacks of a superior 
army till nightfall, when he made good his retreat into 
Badenoch. He immediately proceeded into Argyllshire, 
which he ravaged with fire and sword, whilst sentence 
of forfeiture was passed against him in Parliament. 
Argyle, exasperated by the devastation of his estates, 
marched against Montrose, who, without waiting to 
be attacked, surprised the army of the Covenanters 
at Inverlochy, in Lochaber, 2nd February 1645, and 
totally routed them, no less than 1,500 Campbells 
perishing in the battle, while Montrose lost but four 
or five men. He now proceeded into Moray, where 
he was joined by the Gordons and Grants ; they 
marched to the southward, taking Dundee by storm ; 
but being attacked by a superior force under Generals 
Baillie and Hurry, Montrose began to retreat. Baillie 
and Hurry divided their forces to prevent his return 
to the north, but by a masterly movement he passed 
between their divisions, and regained the hills. He 
defeated General Hurry at Aldern, near Nairn, on 4th 
May 1645, when 2,000 of the Covenanters were left 
dead on the field of battle. Following up that victory 
Montrose encountered and defeated General Baillie at 


Alford. His victories attracted reinforcements from 
every quarter, and he marched south at the head of 
6,000 men. He again encountered the Covenanters 
at Kilsyth, and defeated them with great slaughter. 
Edinburgh and Glasgow now submitted to him, and 
he prepared to march into England ; but on 13th 
September 1646 he was surprised and totally defeated 
at Philiphaugh by General Leslie, and his brave army 

In 1650 he was again in command of an army in the 
Highlands, but was defeated at Invercharron, when 
Montrose disguised himself as a common private and, 
swimming across the Kyle, fled up Strathoikell to 
Assynt, where he was betrayed to General Leslie. 

Every possible indignity was now heaped upon him. 
He was received by the Magistrates of Edinburgh at 
the Watergate, placed on an elevated seat in a cart, 
to which he was pinioned with cords, and, preceded 
by his officers, coupled together, was conducted bare 
headed by the public executioner to the common gaol. 
But his magnanimity was superior to every insult. In 
reply to a most degrading sentence passed upon him, 
he vindicated his dereliction of the Covenant by their 
rebellion against the King, and his appearance in arms 
by the commission of his sovereign, and he declared 
that as he had formerly laid down, so he had again 
resumed, his arms by His Majesty s command. With 
dignified magnanimity he replied that he was prouder 
to have his head affixed to the prison walls than his 
portrait placed in the King s bedchamber, and that " far 
from being troubled that my limbs are to be sent to 
your principal towns, I wish I had flesh enough to be 


dispersed through Christendom to attest my dying 
attachment to my King." It was the calm employment 
of his mind that night to reduce his extravagant 
sentiments to verse, and he wrote with his diamond 
ring on his prison window, these verses : 

" Let them bestow on every airth a limb, 
Then open all my veins that I may swim 
To Thee, my Maker, in that crimson lake, 
Then place my parboiled head upon a stake ; 

" Scatter my ashes, strew them thro the air, 
Lord, since Thou knowest where all these atoms are, 
I m hopeful Thou lt recover once my dust 
And confident Thou lt raise me with the just." 

The " Great Marquis " appeared next day, 21st May, 
on the scaffold in a rich habit, with the same serene 
and undaunted countenance, and addressed the people 
to vindicate his dying unabsolved by the Kirk. "He 
stepped along the street," wrote an eyewitness, " with 
so great state, and there appeared in his countenance 
so much beauty, majesty, and gravity, as amazed all 
beholders. And many of his enemies did acknowledge 
him to be the bravest subject in the world, and in him 
a gallantry that graced all the crowd, more beseeming 
a monarch than a peer." Thus perished, at the early 
age of thirty-eight, the gallant Marquis of Montrose, 
with the reputation of one of the first commanders 
of the age (Douglas Peerage). His chief victory was 
that of Inverlochy in Lochaber, and the greatest of his 
military feats were his marches and counter-marches 
from Badenoch into Lochaber and Argyll. 

Ranald Macdonell, Alexander s son, was chief of 


Keppoch when the Earl of Argyle paid Lochaber an 
unwelcome visit. The Earl had received orders from 
the Committee of Estates to force the Earl of Airly 
to subscribe the Covenant, and then to fall upon " the 
Highland limmers, broken out of Lochaber, Brae of 
Athol, Brae of Mar, and diverse other places. . . . 
Erom Athol, Argyle goes to Lochaber ; and as he 
marches, he gets due obedience from barons, gentle 
men, and others through the country ; he plundered 
and spoiled all Lochaber, and burnt Macdonald s house 
of Keppoch, holder of the House of Huntly. He left 
a captain with 200 men to keep this country ; but 
they were all killed by the people of that country. 
Thus Argyle goes through all, men offering subjec 
tion and obedience to him, whereof he sends some to 
Edinburgh to the tables, others he takes to swear 
and subscribe the Covenant, band of relief, and con 
tributing to the good cause, and suffered them to 
stay at home. This done he disbands his army, and 
comes down Deeside, about 1,200 men ; but what order 
he took of the broken men, oppressors of the country, 
was not mickle heard, so forward was he for the 

Spalding is probably correct enough in suggesting 
that Keppoch s refusal to subscribe the Covenant was 
the main fault for which he had to bear the destruction 
of his home. Eive years later, however, the Lochaber 
men had their full revenge on the Campbells at the 
battle of Inverlochy above mentioned, for in this, as 
well as in the other engagements of Montrose, Keppoch 
and his clansmen always took a prominent share. 

The next commander who led the military spirits 


of Lochaber was Sir Ewan Cameron, of Lochiel. He 
alone of the neighbouring chiefs refused to submit to 
General Monk, whose far-seeing talent had determined 
him to place a strong permanent garrison in the heart of 
the rebellious district. Materials for the construction 
of the fort were brought by sea, and several hundred 
men were installed under Colonel Bryan at the new 
stronghold at the foot of Ben Nevis. Sir Ewan 
Cameron had wished to join Montrose, but the 
Marquis s capture put an end to that project; in 
1652, however, he served under the Earl of Glencairn, 
to whom he rendered much assistance. Almost im 
mediately on his return to Lochaber Lochiel had an 
engagement with the Government troops and drove 
them with considerable slaughter from a wood on 
Lochiel side which they were clearing. Towards the 
close of this combat, an English officer, noticing that 
Lochiel had been separated from his companions, sprang 
forward and engaged him in single combat. After 
some moments Lochiel disarmed his opponent, when 
the powerfully - built Englishman closed with his 
Highland antagonist, and after a desperate struggle 
both fell to the ground, clasped in a deadly embrace. 
It chanced that the officer was uppermost, and seeing 
his sword lying within a few paces, he made a frenzied 
effort to gain possession of it; while in the act of 
stretching his arm in the direction of his weapon, he 
left his throat unprotected, and Lochiel, with the 
desperation of a man in mortal peril, immediately 
fastened his teeth in it, and, almost mad with passion, 
bit right through the windpipe, and did not let go until 
his enemy s hold loosened, and he died where he lay. 


Sir Ewan s severe punishment of the garrison at 
Achdalieu was followed not long after by another 
engagement, in which at least a hundred Englishmen 
were slain, and the remaining three hundred driven in 
hopeless confusion back to the Fort. These incidents 
made so great an impression that a formal treaty was 
entered into between the Chief of the Camerons and 
the English commander, who accepted Lochiel s promise 
that he would live at peace with his neighbours ; and 
on this condition he and his clansmen were not only 
allowed to retain their arms, but he was to receive an 
indemnity in money for all the losses he had sustained 
at the hands of the garrison. 

Another character who left his name in the tradi 
tions of Lochaber at this period was " Iain Lorn," the 
Bard of Keppoch. He is generally thought to have 
been intended for the priesthood, and with this object 
in view to have been sent to the Scots College in 
Spain. But he was not found suited to the ecclesi 
astical state, and returned to his native Lochaber. 
Here he acquired immense influence by his powers of 
minstrelsy, and was a most powerful ally to Montrose. 
It was he who first carried the news of the occupa 
tion of Inverlochy by the Campbells to Montrose, 
and he afterwards acted as guide to the Great Marquis 
in his difficult marches through the almost inaccess 
ible passes of Lochaber. His poem on the battle of 
Inverlochy is a masterpiece of Gaelic verse. 

In 1663 Iain Lorn was busy in avenging the murder 
of the two sons of Donald Glas, XL Chief of Keppoch. 
These two youths had been educated in France, and 
during their absence, seven of their cousins assumed 


the management of the estates. The return of the 
young chiefs was looked upon with ill favour by these 
seven brothers, and a trifling incident at the home 
coming banquet became the cause of their murder. The 
great body of the clan seemed to be little concerned 
about the matter, but Iain Lorn applied to one chief 
after the other to avenge the murder. At last 
Macdonald of Sleat promised to do so, and placed a 
body of men at Iain s disposal. The house of the 
murderers at Inverlair was surrounded, and the seven 
brothers slain. But the bard s vengeance was not 
yet satisfied. He had carefully preserved the dirk 
with which young Keppoch had been killed, and with 
it he now cut off the heads of the seven murderers, 
washed them in a well at the side of Loch Oich, 
presented them to the Chief of Glengarry who had 
refused Iain Lom s request for assistance and then 
sent them to Sir Alexander Macdonald of Sleat, as 
proof that justice had been done. The Bard of Keppoch 
continued by his satirical effusions to inflame the 
already restless spirits of Lochaber against the garrison 
at Inverlochy, and in general against the House of 
Orange. He was present at the battle of Killiecrankie, 
and died in 1709. He is buried at Killechyrille, 
where in recent years a monument has been raised to 
his memory. 

The character of this famous Bard of Keppoch is 
well described in the following passage. " His talent, 
however, lay much more towards railing, which was 
likewise much more to his taste, and better suited 
to the stern, sullen, and inexorable nature of his 
character; and many epigrammatic sayings of that 


description, both by him and of him, are still re 
membered. One of the latter kind, by a Eobertson 
of Straloch, is a tolerably good account of the general 
mode of life led by the bards of the period : 

" * John Lorn, the greedy, 

A bard from his birth, 
Ever railing and needy, 

A night in each hearth. 

"He was naturally taciturn and little disposed to 
contribute that species of amusement, by singing and 
reciting, which the bards usually reckoned it their 
duty to furnish in return for their fare and accommoda 
tion ; and in one particular, like the singer Tigellus, 
he never sang when called upon. Those who were 
fond of that amusement, and understood the bard s 
humour, commenced a blundering recitation of some 
favourite song or poem, upon which the bard, after 
exclaiming, Silence, beast ! it was thus said by the 
author/ proceeded with the recitation in the proper 
manner. Being a keen Jacobite, like the generality 
of his clan, and a mortal hater of the Saxons, the 
public events of his time afforded him abundant 
subject and provocation for the exercise of his railing 
art." i 

Lochaber has the peculiar distinction of being the 
last district wherein was fought a clan battle, namely, 
that of Mulroy. For over two hundred years the chief 
of the Mackintoshes at Moy had laid claim to over- 
lordship of the lands of Keppoch. A charter to this 
effect had been granted in 1447 by the Lord of the 
Isles, and this charter had been confirmed in 1688. 

1 " Sketch of a Tour in the Highlands," 1818. 
VOL. I. L 


Coll of Keppoch, however, when asked by what 
authority he held his lands, replied that his charter 
was not a paltry sheepskin, but his trusted sword. 
Enraged by this answer Mackintosh assembled his men 
to the number of over one thousand and received addi 
tional assistance from a party of Government troops 
under Captain Mackenzie, of Suddy. Exulting in 
the certainty of success, the Mackintoshes marched 
through Badenoch into Lochaber, along the beautiful 
banks of the Spean River. They expected to find 
Keppoch defending his house on the river - side, but 
the wary chief was a couple of miles away on the 
hilltop. Besides his own 500 men, strong detach 
ments of Macdonalds came to his assistance from 
Glengarry and Glencoe, so that there must have been 
about 1,000 men on either side. "From the heights 
above, the Macdonalds swept down upon their foes 
like an avalanche of destruction, shouting their war- 
cry, Dia s Naomh Aindrea, with deafening clamour, 
to which the Mackintoshes replied with Loch-na- 
Maoidh, the slogan of the clan, and stood firmly 
waiting the onset. Amid this terrible din the battle 
raged, the rock and mountains re-echoing the fearful 
sounds, as steel met steel, and the great war - pipes 
(Piob Mor) of the opposing clans sounded the ancient 
pibrochs which had rung out on many a field of 
slaughter such as this." The battle was at its fiercest 
when a herdsman of Keppoch s of prodigious size joined 
in the fray, shouting for all he was worth : " They fly, 
they fly ! Upon them, upon them ! " This ruse lent 
fresh vigour to the Macdonalds, who, "slashing and 
hewing with axe and claymore, drove their enemy 


over the steep banks of the river Koy, to meet a 
terrible fate among the great boulders forty feet below. 

Such was the last clan battle in Highland History, 
a battle which justly surprised the philosophic Dr 
Johnson, when he passed the spot one hundred years 
later. The feud between Keppoch and Mackintosh 
continued as long as the former chief had an inch 
of ground which he could call his own. Keppoch, 
without other assistance than his own clansmen and 
their relatives of Glengarry, seized every opportunity 
to ravage and destroy the lands of the Mackintoshes. 
At last in 1680 Mackintosh complained to the Privy 
Council that his losses exceeded 40,000 merks, and 
commissions of fire and sword were issued against 
Keppoch. Letters were sent to the Sheriffs of Ross, 
Inverness, Nairn, Aberdeen, and Perth, charging all 
men within these bounds to join Mackintosh against 
the Lochaber chieftain, whose fate at last seemed 
sealed. Just at this moment, and indeed most oppor 
tunely for Keppoch, the Government of William and 
Mary issued a proclamation offering pardon for all 
past offences to those who would make their sub 
mission before the last day of 1691. Keppoch eagerly 
availed himself of this opportunity, and to the great 
remorse of his kindly friend, Mackintosh, received 
a full pardon from Government. Of this, Mackintosh 
bitterly complained long after. It was fortunate, 
however, for Keppoch that his submission to Govern 
ment was made in good time for he had undoubtedly 
been marked out for destruction along with Glencoe ! l 

As far as Lochaber is concerned the campaigns of 

1 Rev. A. & A. Macdonald, "The Clan Donald," vol. ii. p. 661. 


"Bonnie Dundee" were almost a repetition of those 
of his kinsman Montrose. The accession of William 
of Orange was most distasteful to the greater part 
of the Highlandmen, and especially to those of 
Lochaber, who joined King James s Lieutenant at 
the rendezvous on the side of the Lochy Eiver in 
even greater numbers than they had joined Montrose. 
Sir Ewan Cameron, the familiar friend and devoted 
adherent of King James, was, with Keppoch and 
Glengarry, the chief adviser of Dundee, and to him 
is due the victory of Killiecrankie. The lowland 
officers advised other plans of attack, but Lochiel 
was strong on at once attacking the Government 
troops. " Fight, my lord, fight immediately ; fight, 
if you have only one to three. Our men are in 
heart. Their only fear is that the enemy should 
escape; give them their way, and be assured that 
they will either perish or gain a complete victory. 
But if you restrain them, if you force them to remain 
on the defensive, I answer for nothing. If we do 
not fight, we had better break up and retire to our 
mountains." Words which the brilliant victory of 
Killiecrankie fully justified; words which were later 
the key to the victories of Prince Charlie, as well as 
the explanation of his failure at Culloden. 

But before passing on to that date, the Eising of 1715 
needs a brief notice. As in the 45, so now the first 
blow was struck in Lochaber, where General Gordon, 
with 4,000 or 5,000 Highlanders, made a most savage 
onslaught on the Government troops in Fort William 
a structure which they had long wished to see at 
the bottom of Loch Linne. But the fort was too 


strong for them, so leaving it, the men of Lochaber 
joined the forces of the Earl of Mar at Sheriffmuir. 

I have stated elsewhere that it was to the Clan- 
ranalds that is due the honour of first taking up 
arms in support of Prince Charlie. Certain as this 
is, it is to the men of Lochaber that belongs the 
honour of providing almost the whole of the army 
of 1,100 men that assembled at Glenfinnan, as well 
as that of striking the first blow of the campaign. 
This occurred at Highbridge, five miles from Keppoch, 
Donald Macdonell, the chief s brother, and Donald 
Macdonald of Terndriech, cousin to Keppoch, having 
had the pluck with their ten or twelve men to dis 
pute the passage of the bridge with Captain Scott, in 
command of two companies of regulars. Terndriech 
manoeuvred his men so cleverly amongst the "wooded 
glens and braes " that Captain Scott was led to believe 
that a strong force was opposed to him. He ordered 
a retreat, intending to make his way back to Fort 
Augustus, but before he had covered half that distance, 
he was indeed opposed by strong detachments of 
Highlanders under Keppoch and Glengarry, to whom 
he surrendered. 

It will be well to mention here that in the preceding 
pages, where no other reference is given, I have followed 
Mr Drummond Norie s " Loyal Lochaber," a work full 
of interest and of Jacobite sympathy. The remainder 
of this chapter on the civil history of Lochaber 
military, perhaps, I should have said will be taken 
from "A Memoir of Macdonald of Keppoch," which 
was printed for private circulation, and of which the 
author was Dr Macdonald, of Taunton, 


To return to the opening incident in the campaign 
of 45. In the scuffle which followed on the surprise 
of Captain Scott by Keppoch s men, the Captain him 
self was wounded, several of his men were slain, and 
the whole party were taken prisoners. Expresses were 
sent to the garrison of Fort William for surgeons on 
Captain Scott s account, but they refused to assist him, 
on which Major Macdonald took him on his own horse 
and carried him to a place of safety, till he was con 
veyed to the garrison on his parole of honour, which 
he faithfully kept to the great mortification of the 
Duke of Cumberland and others after the cure was 
completed. Soon after, Captain Scott went to London, 
and such was the state of parties at the time that he 
was immediately waited upon and admitted to the 
highest company, such as the Duke of Bedford, Lord 
Gower, etc. This was the foundation of his future 
fortune in the world ; and he is said to have been the 
only man who kept his parole with the Highlanders. 
Long after that unhappy period, Captain Scott was 
visiting at the Countess of Dundonald, who had 
benevolently adopted Mary, Major Macdonald s second 
daughter. Upon asking who she was and being told, 
he immediately replied that he owed his life to her 
father, and often after he repeated the same thing. 
General Scott s great fortune, chiefly made by gambling, 
was inherited by his two daughters, the Duchess of 
Portland and Lady Canning. 

When Terndriech embarked with his clan, he was 
in the flower of his age, of great strength of body, and, 
as his conduct proved, of undaunted courage. At the 
battle of Prestonpans and Falkirk he is said to have 


behaved with great intrepidity, prudence, and humanity, 
encouraging his friends and sparing the King s forces. 
This part of his conduct was proverbial. Even those 
into whose hands he unfortunately fell treated him 
with great attention, for which they were said to have 
been in some degree censured, such was the rancour 
of the day. By a sad fatality, as he distinctly 
mentioned before his death, Major Macdonald was 
taken after the battle of Falkirk, through falling into 
the hands of a party of General Hawley s force, which 
he mistook for Lord John Drummond s French picket. 
It occurred at the end of the day, when the Highlanders 
had conquered all before them, and from every account 
might have destroyed the Koyal army completely, had 
the clans been allowed to engage in their own manner. 
The brutal General Husk ordered Macdonald to be 
shot, and refused to receive his arms, but Lord Eobert 
Kerr politely stepped forward and accepted them. 
Major Macdonald afterwards referred with gratitude 
to Lord Eobert s generous civility. Major Macdonald 
was sent to Carlisle, where his confinement was strict 
and severe. At his trial his conduct was respectful 
and dignified. When an appeal was seen to be useless, 
he and all those who shared the same unhappy fate 
submitted with a degree of firmness and composure 
which affected all present. The severity of his con 
finement, and the sad effects of being carried from 
his own country his trial at Carlisle instead of 
at Edinburgh was illegal are manifest from his 
letters to his wife. The following sample must 
suffice : 


" Mrs MACDONALD of Terndriech, at Edinburgh. To the 
care of Mr John Moir, merchant at Edinburgh, 
at Mr Stirling s shop near the Lecker Booth. 

"CARLISLE CASTLE, September 1746. 

"MY DEAR LIFE, I yesterday had the agreeable 
account of your being in health, and of your stay in 
Edinburgh, for which I thank God, and your dear self 
for complying ; and though Kinloch s lady came here 
yesterday, she will not get access to see her husband ; 
and as a short time will discover the event of most of 
us here, we are all hoping for the best and prepared 
for the worst. In any event I shall acquaint you as 
soon as my trial comes on, therefore, my dear Life, put 
your whole trust in God s mercy and Providence, in 
whom I put my entire hopes and confidence. My dear 
Life, I was surprised I got no letter from you, and 
you cannot imagine what joy and satisfaction it gave 
me, when I heard by Mr Stewart that you complied 
to stay, for you would regret much your coming here, 
since you could not have access to me. ... I pray 
God to direct you in all circumstances, and to comfort 
you in your present situation, and may we both submit 
to the decrees of Almighty God; therefore, my dear 
Life, be of good courage. Eanald, nor the other 
witness, I believe, have not yet come to town, but 
Mr Stewart expects them this night. I shall despatch 
Eanald, or the other witness, to you, as soon as my 
trial is over. . . . Your most affectionate husband and 
most obliged servant by your staying, 



Some extracts from the speech intended to be 
delivered on the scaffold, but forbidden as they 
doubtless represent the deep-rooted feelings of the 
great number of gentry who engaged in the Kising 
will not be out of place. 

"As I am now to suffer a public, cruel, barbarous, 
and in the eyes of the world an ignominious and 
shameful death, I think myself obliged to acknowledge 
that it was from principle, and through conviction of 
its being my duty to God, my injured King, and 
oppressed country, that engaged me to take up arms 
under the standard and conduct of Charles, Prince of 
Wales. It was always my greatest concern to see our 
ancient race and lawful sovereign restored, and, if such 
was the will of Heaven, to lose my life cheerfully in 
promoting it. I solemnly declare that I had no view 
in drawing my sword in that laudable cause but the 
restoration of the Eoyal family and the recovery of 
the liberties of these unhappy islands, now too long 
oppressed with usurpation, corruption, and bribery ; 
being sensible that nothing else but the King s return 
could make our country flourish, under all ranks and 
degrees of men, and recover Church and State from 
those too many dismal consequences naturally flowing 
from revolutionary principles. ... I thank God, since 
I drew my sword in that laudable cause, I have acted 
not only in obedience to the commands of my merciful 
and generous Prince, but also in compliance with my 
private disposition, behaving with humanity and charity 
towards my enemies, the Elector of Hanover s troops, 
both in the field and in prison, to the utmost of my 


power, without receding at the same time from the 
duty and fidelity I owe to my Prince and the common 

" For my part, when I reflect on my innocence as to 
what has been laid to my charge, I cheerfully give 
up all murmurings, resigning myself to the divine 
Providence, and I am hopeful of mercy, through the 
merits of Jesus Christ. I die an unworthy member 
of the Holy Kornan Catholic Church, in the communion 
of which I have lived, and however ill spoken of, or 
misrepresented, I am confident of happiness through 
the merit and sufferings and mediation of my only Lord 
and Saviour Jesus Christ ; and I here declare, upon the 
faith of a dying man, that it was with no view of estab 
lishing that church or religion in this nation that I 
joined the Prince, but purely out of duty and allegiance 
to our only rightful and native sovereign. ... I con 
clude with my blessing to my dear wife, family, relations, 
and friends, heartily and earnestly begging that the 
Lord may grant success to the Prince s army and restore 
the Eoyal family. . . . Forgive, Lord, my enemies, and 
receive my soul. Come, Lord Jesus ! come quickly ; 
into Thy hands I resign my spirit. 


"Saturday, ye 18th October" the day before his execution. 

Dr Macdonald adds : " Their solemn but magnani 
mous conduct on the occasion of their execution was 
long the theme of universal admiration ; whilst the con 
tempt of their punishment recalled to memory the last 
scene and unjust sufferings of the immortal Marquis 
of Montrose." 


The 127 prisoners who were to be tried for their 
lives were heavily ironed and thrust into one room 
in the keep of Carlisle Castle. This shocking act of 
wanton barbarity was perpetrated previous to their 
trial ; " they were huddled together into places which we 
now almost shudder to look into. On Saturday, 18th 
October, Major Macdonald, Kinlochmoidart, a minister 
of religion named Cappach, and six others, were taken 
from Carlisle Castle to Gallows Hill, a mile south of 
the town, in a slow procession through the East Gate, 
over which were the gory, wasting heads and mutilated 
remains of their gallant companions in arms. All 
declared that they died under the conviction that their 
cause was just. They then engaged briefly in prayer ; 
all behaved with unshaken fortitude. The hideous 
sentence that they should be hung, drawn, and quartered 
while still alive was executed to the letter. Their bodies 
were interred in the cemetery at Carlisle. The heads 
of Major Macdonald and his cousin Kinloch were stuck 
on the Scotch Gate of Carlisle, where they remained for 
many years. 

Poor Terndriech s son, a tender lad of seven, was 
hunted across the hills of Lochaber, and his experiences, 
written by himself while still a boy, are charming read 
ing. He ultimately reached Traquair, where he spent 
eight months, and proceeded thence to Warwick Hall, in 
Cumberland, where he was adopted and educated by 
Mr Warwick. He later went to complete his education at 
Douai, with the intention of becoming a priest. He died 
there, however, before he was old enough to be ordained. 

We have the authority of Bishop Geddes 1 for 

1 " Account of the State of the Catholics in Scotland in 1745-1747." 


saying that Kinlochmoidart and Terndriech found 
means of applying to Bishop Smith for spiritual assist 
ance. At his desire Mr George Duncan, who had been 
missionary in Angus, and had been a prisoner for some 
short time, went cheerfully upon this delicate and 
dangerous expedition of charity. He got admission to 
the prisoners as a friend of theirs, heard their con 
fessions, as well as those of some English gentlemen 
who were in the same situation, communicated them to 
their great comfort, having carried with him the Blessed 
Sacrament for that purpose, and got safely out of the 
town and back to Scotland without any interruption ; 
but an information had been lodged against him by the 
magistrates, and a search was made for him a few hours 
after his departure. 

For many years Macdonell of Keppoch was con 
sidered the hero of Culloden, though quite recently Mr 
Andrew Lang has endeavoured to prove that the chief 
circumstance in the generally accepted narrative really 
never took place. All accounts agree, however, that 
Keppoch died at the head of his men, the point in 
controversy being whether the clansmen refused to 
follow their chief, or really did follow him, and even 
passed on to engage the enemy after the chief had 

This sketch of the history of Lochaber being especially 
from a Catholic point of view, it will not be out of 
place to mention that it is not in accordance with the 
tradition of the family that Keppoch was at variance 
with his clan on the question of religion. The state 
ment was apparently first made by Murray of Broughton 
in many cases a most untrustworthy, not to say con- 


temptible, informant and was accepted by Sir Walter 
Scott. The following is his note in chapter Ixxvi. of 
"Tales of my Grandfather." "Keppoch, it is said, 
would have brought more men to the field, but there 
existed a dispute betwixt him and his clan a rare 
circumstance in itself, and still more uncommon, as 
it arose from a point of religion. Keppoch was a 
Protestant, his clan were Catholics, a difference which 
would have bred no discord between them if Keppoch 
would have permitted the priest to accompany his 
hearers on the march. But the chief would not ; the 
clansmen took offence and came in smaller numbers 
than otherwise would have followed him, for he was 
much and deservedly beloved by them." 

On the other hand, the tradition in the family is very 
strong that this whole story originated with Murray 
of Broughton, and that it had no foundation in fact, but 
that on the contrary Keppoch was an excellent Catholic 
and brought up all his family in that Faith. As a 
recent writer has tried to prove that the hitherto 
accepted account of Keppoch being deserted by his 
clan is unfounded, it may not be too late in the day to 
strive to correct the statement regarding his religion, 
though proof on this latter point will now be well-nigh 

All through the 45 Keppoch played a leading part ; 
he joined Prince Charlie with three hundred of his 
clan at the raising of the Standard in Glenfinnan, and 
in all questions of military policy the Prince gave great 
weight to his opinion. He had been educated in 
France, and had early entered the army there, where 
he was an object of great affection. Keppoch, from his 


military knowledge, was one of the most useful, as he 
was one of the most indefatigable officers of the High 
land army, in training his regiment, and setting as 
strict an example of military discipline as could be 
exercised over so many raw men, most of whom were 
strangers to anything like military subordination. An 
excellent proof of this worthy man s knowledge of, and 
influence over, the Highlanders is mentioned by Mr 
Home, in his account of the battle of Preston. " On 
Thursday evening Charles went to Duddingston, and 
calling a Council of War, proposed to march next day 
and meet Sir John Cope half-way. The members of 
the Council agreed that there was nothing else to be 
done. Charles then asked the Highland chiefs how 
they thought their men would behave when they met 
Sir John Cope, who had at last plucked up spirit to 
give them battle, The chiefs desired Macdonald of 
Keppoch to speak for them, as he had served in the 
French army, and was thought to know better than 
any of them what the Highlanders could do against 
regular troops. Keppoch said that as the country had 
long been at peace, few or none of the private men 
had ever seen a battle, and it was not very easy to 
say how they would behave ; but he would venture to 
assure His Eoyal Highness that the gentlemen would 
be in the midst of the enemy, and that the private 
men, as they loved the cause and loved the chiefs, 
would certainly follow them. The result of the battle 
of Preston, and I may add of Falkirk, showed how well 
he was acquainted with the real character of his 
countrymen, and how fully he had appreciated their 
courage and their attachment to their chiefs." 


Many anecdotes are told of Keppoch. About 1743 
three gentlemen of rank, anxious to visit the High 
lands, set out, and were recommended to Keppoch and 
his relations. He received them with the frankness 
of a chieftain and with the politeness of the French 
Court at which he had been educated. His lady, a 
daughter of Stewart of Appin, presided at the festive 
board. After dinner six charming children were intro 
duced, dressed in the tartan of their clan. In the 
midst of their happiness, when French wine and the 
piper had awakened their best feelings, one of the gentle 
men (a Mr Dundas) asked their host what the rental 
of Keppoch was. " Come," says he, " fill a bumper to 
the lad over the water and I will tell you. My rent 
roll is five hundred fine fellows ready to follow me 
wherever I go." This story is most characteristic, as 
showing that the Highland laird of a hundred and fifty 
years ago paid little heed to money rent, but sought to 
increase the number of his dependants ; a policy which 
resulted in the overcrowding of whole districts, and 
was the chief cause of the miserable condition to which 
the lower orders were reduced. 

The district of Lochaber was in a sad condition after 
Culloden. Endless misery was inflicted on the defence 
less Highlanders, who were at the mercy of the military 
garrisons of Fort Augustus and Fort William. Indeed 
it is surprising to find Prince Charlie so often in con 
cealment within this district, which was alive with 
military on his track, and where he several times 
escaped with the very greatest difficulty. Achnacarry, 
the seat of Lochiel, on Loch Arkaig shore, was given 
to the flames, the laird having sought a rest with his 


cousin Macpherson in Badenoch. Here he slowly 
recovered from the dangerous wound he had received 
at Culloden, and here he was visited by Prince Charlie 
in August 1846. He escaped to France with the 

Alexander Macdonell, of Keppoch, though he had 
been mortally wounded and had died on the field of 
Culloden, was, nevertheless, attainted in due form, his 
house was burnt to the ground, and his estates forfeited. 
His son and grandson, however, continued to hold the 
estates, partly from Mackintosh and partly from the 
Duke of Gordon ; but it is to be feared that the proud 
boast of Coll of Keppoch that " he would never consent 
to hold by sheepskin what he had won by his sword," 
was in great measure the cause why the property about 
thirty years ago finally passed out of the family. 

The last " of the deeds of chivalry " of loyal Lochaber 
with which we need concern ourselves and indeed 
only the briefest mention of it is possible within the 
scope of this work is the large part which the district 
has taken in providing recruits for the newly-formed 
regiments between 1750 and the present time. Among 
the officers in the Eraser Highlanders were Captain 
Donald Macdonald, brother of Clanranald, Eanald 
Macdonell, brother of Angus XVII. of Keppoch, 
and Archibald, grandson of Angus; Ewan, Donald, 
and Alan Cameron, all near relatives of Lochiel. In 
1793 the "Cameron Volunteers" were raised. They 
were all Lochaber men, 300 being adherents of 
Keppoch. Two years later it was proposed by the 
War Office of that date to draft this regiment into 
others. This was hotly resented by officers and men 


alike. The Commander-in-Chief threatened to send 
the regiment to the West Indies if they continued 
obstinate, to which Cameron of Erracht defiantly 
replied : " You may tell your father, the King, from 
me, that he may send us to hell if he likes, and I ll go 
at the head of them, but he dare not draft us." To the 
West Indies they did go, and after two years of that 
terrible climate only one quarter returned to Lochaber. 
Nearly 800 fresh recruits were at once enlisted. They 
next served in Holland, Egypt, Portugal, and shared 
in the greatest victory of the British arms at 
Waterloo, whilst they have been at the front in 
almost all Britain s more recent wars. 

" Lochaber, on thy heather hills, 

The fame of heroes rest ; 
Each name in Scotia s annals famed, 

Found echo in thy breast : 
Historic Keppoch, desert now, 

Speak from thy ruined mound, 
The days when Claverhouse, noblest chief, 

Thine aid and shelter found." 

VOL. I. 


OF ecclesiastical matters in Lochaber a fairly full 
account occurs in the Scots Directory for 1860. It is 
as follows. The first priest that we find permanently 
stationed in Lochaber after the Eeformation was Mr 
John Macdonald, called to this day by the natives 
Maighstir Iain Mor. This zealous and indefatigable 
missionary was born in Lochaber, descended paternally 
from the family of Clanranald, and maternally from 
that of Bohuntan, Glenroy a branch of the House of 
Keppoch. The precise year of his birth cannot now 
be ascertained. Having, according to the prevalent 
opinion, received Holy Orders in Borne, he made his 
way to his native country, where he arrived about the 
year 1721, and entered immediately upon his pastoral 
duties. It is said, and also believed as a fact, that 
upon his arrival in the district of Lochaber he found 
amongst the whole inhabitants only three families that 
practised the duties of the Catholic religion ; not indeed 
that they ever lapsed into Protestantism, for they were 
in reality more ignorant than heretical, but they had 
in a manner become quite indifferent to the profes 
sion of any kind of religion whatever. This state of 



indifference arose, no doubt, in great measure, from 
the scarcity of priests, and thus the people had not the 
opportunity either of being instructed in their faith, 
or of complying with the obligations which it pre 
scribed. It is true that previous to the arrival of 
Father Macdonald the natives were occasionally visited 
by Father Peter, a holy Irish priest who resided in 
Glengarry ; but these visits were rare, and on that 
account seem not to have produced any lasting results, 
so far as the bulk of the people were concerned. 

Mr Macdonald s prospects at the commencement of 
his missionary career were far from being encouraging, 
for the portion of the vineyard committed to his charge 
had grown wild and unproductive. The people of 
Lochaber were at this period, as is well known, lawless 
and fierce in their nature, savage in their disposition, 
and prone to plunder and revenge. To such a state 
of barbarity had they sunk that might had usurped 
the place of right without even the possibility of 
obtaining redress. Such being the lamentable state of 
the people, as the traditions preserved in Lochaber 
fully prove, we can easily conceive that the task which 
Mr Macdonald had undertaken to perform was of the 
most arduous kind, and demanding on his part the 
most consummate prudence, zeal, and activity. But 
cheerless as the aspect of matters then looked, he did 
not despond. On the contrary, difficulties served only 
to stimulate him to exertion and to bring out the latent 
energies of his nature. He laboured incessantly, in 
season and out of season, to stem the torrent of iniquity 
that flowed over the land. He sowed the seed, but still 
the soil seemed barren and unproductive. After having 


given to his wayward flock what he considered a fair 
trial, he was doomed to experience the most bitter 

The consequence was that he resolved to abandon 
the mission of Lochaber, and to transfer his services to 
some other more congenial spot, where his labours 
might prove more productive. He had even fixed on 
the day of his departure ; but ere that day came 
round, a sick call was sent to him. It was to attend 
a woman at Insch. Without loss of time he obeyed 
the summons ; but on arriving at the residence of the 
sick person, to his great surprise he found her not only 
in an apparently good state of health, but also decked 
out like a bride in her best and gayest attire. He 
was much astonished, and began on the spot to rebuke 
her roundly with having sought to impose upon him ; 
"for, judging," said he, "by your present appearance, 
there is not the most distant danger of death ; besides, 
why are you so gaudily dressed on such an occasion ? " 
To this she answered : " I have frequently during my 
life adorned myself thus with the desire of making 
myself agreeable in the eyes of the world; and if I 
acted so from silly vanity, how much the more ought 
I now to present myself, in the most becoming manner 
I am able, to receive so great and august a guest as 
you have brought with you to my humble dwelling 
rny Lord and Saviour in the Most Holy Sacrament 
of the Altar. As to the hour of my departure from 
this world, I feel it is now near at hand ; be pleased 
therefore , Priest of the Living God, to receive without 
loss of time my confession to give me absolution 
and to administer the other Sacraments appointed by 


my Eedeemer to aid the dying Christian to appear 
with confidence before the tribunal of God." Persuaded 
at length by her entreaties, he did as he was desired, 
and scarcely had he finished, when she calmly expired 
without the least appearance of sickness or pain. 

A scene so very remarkable and edifying induced 
Mr Macdonald to pause and reconsider his determina 
tion of abandoning altogether the mission of Lochaber, 
and the happy result was that he would not forsake a 
congregation, in which, contrary to his expectations, he 
had found so good and precious a soul. He therefore 
declared on the spot to those around him that he 
would not leave them, and that he would gladly spend 
the remainder of his days amongst them, even should 
the fruit of his labour be only the salvation of such 
another soul as that which had then taken its flight 
to its Maker. It was a happy day for the people of 
Lochaber that this edifying death-scene occurred ; for 
Mr Macdonald, by his indomitable perseverance, com 
bined with apostolic zeal and great piety, so far 
triumphed in the end, that he succeeded in softening 
the wild and fierce temper of many of his people, and 
thus laid the foundation of the now flourishing and 
important mission of the Braes of Lochaber. 

After a missionary career of forty years, Mr Mac 
donald departed this life in 1761. His last pastoral 
act was to baptize, three days before his death, while 
stretched on his sick-bed, Donald Macdonell, son of 
Angus XVII. of Keppoch, and Angus Macdonald: 
the former was the father of Ranald Macdonell, who 
now (1860) rents the lands of Keppoch; the latter was 
the father of John, Archibald, Alexander, Colin, and 


Donald Macdonald, conjointly in the occupancy of the 
farm of Crenachan, Glenroy, a farm which has been 
held by this family for over two hundred years. All 
these brothers lived to a great age ; the last survivor, 
Donald, dying in 1907, at the age of eighty-four. He 
left 500 for the benefit of the mission of Brae 

The next priest in this charge was Mr Eneas Gillis, 
who attended it at stated periods from Glengarry. He 
was succeeded by the famous Mr M Kenna, an Irish 
priest of gigantic stature and prodigious strength. 
Many anecdotes of his prowess are still related in the 
country, from all of which it appears that he was the 
person exactly suited to the times and the kind of 
people with whom he had to deal; for if any one 
dared to show him any want of respect, or to disobey 
his spiritual authority, such a one was sure, in case 
other arguments failed to produce their effect, to feel 
the weight of his powerful arm. He governed this 
mission, which in 1763 numbered 3,000 communicants, 
for about six years with marked success, and the most 
beneficial results. Of him it may be said with truth 
that he completed and consolidated the important work 
commenced under so many disadvantageous circum 
stances by his predecessor. On leaving Lochaber he 
retired from the Scottish Mission, and sailed to Canada 
with 300 Glengarry emigrants. 

Mr M Kenna was succeeded by Mr Angus Gillis, a 
native of Morar, who for forty years had charge of the 
Lochaber mission, where he died in 1812. He was a 
zealous pastor, and conspicuous for his eminent piety 
and holiness of life. The deep reverence in which his 


memory is still held on account of his many priestly 
virtues is sufficiently attested by the elegant cruciform 
monument erected to his memory in 1852, by the 
Catholics of Lochaber, over his grave in Killechyrille, 
Of Mr Angus Gillis it is related, that being suddenly 
struck down by illness he had the Blessed Sacrament 
in the pyx around his neck. Some laymen begged 
to be allowed to remove it, but this the good priest 
would not permit, repeating frequently : " Would that 
God might spare me for a day, that 1 might place the 
Holy Sacrament in safety." It is also remembered 
that when he was first struck down, there hastened to 
his side a Mackintosh from Bohuntine, who passed for 
a doctor in the Glen. Mackintosh asked Mr Gillis to 
allow himself to be bled, to which the latter consented, 
and put out his arm for that purpose. But when the 
new arrival went on to relate how during the previous 
night he had dreamed that he would be needed next 
day to bleed the priest, and had accordingly hastened 
across, Mr Gillis withdrew his arm, and even the 
certain approach of death would not influence him to 
accept relief under such circumstances. 

At this period we have the following piece of 
evidence of the relative numbers of the Catholics and 
Protestants in this district. It is taken from the 
report presented in 1760 to the General Assembly of 
the Church of Scotland. " The parish of Kilmonivaig 
contains 2,500 Catechisable persons, 1,600 of whom 
are Papists. Few of them understand a sermon in 
English. The minister preaches in five different places 
. . . but there is no Church, Manse, Glebe, or School 
in the whole parish. In this parish we examined 


one Lauchlan M Bean, Catechist in Kilmallie and 

Kilmonivaig ; he has Ten Pounds of the Royal Bounty, 

and appeared to us pretty well qualified. These two 

parishes are objects of particular attention, both upon 

account of their large extent and of the great number 

of Papists in Kilmonivaig. Two popish priests reside 

in these bounds. An erection at Fort William would 

pretty well accommodate the countries of Mamore and 

Glenevis, and all the country from Fort William to 

High Bridge, which is six miles. There ought to be 

another in Glenspean, where the rivers Spean and Roy 

meet, which would serve the countries of Glenspean 

and Glenroy. There ought to be another somewhere 

to accommodate the people upon the side of Loch 

Lochie and Locharkisk ; Glengarry must be adjoined 

to Fort Augustus, for it is very discontiguous from 

the rest of the parish of Kilmonivaig." It is a strange 

coincidence that with the exception of the proposed 

erection on the side of Loch Lochy, the above are 

exactly the sites later selected for the Catholic chapels. 

In 1794 a chapel was opened at Fort William and 

was served in turn by Mr, later Bishop, Ranald 

Macdonald, and by Mr, also later Bishop, Fraser, of 

Antigonish. Bishop Ranald Macdonald was a native 

of Lochaber, being of the Crenachan family. At the 

Scots College, Douai, he gained the reputation of being 

a first-rate student. After his ordination in 1782 he 

was stationed for some time in Glengairn, whence he 

was removed to Glengarry, and thence to the island 

of Uist. On the death of Bishop Aeneas Chisholm 

he was nominated Vicar Apostolic of the Highland 

District, and was consecrated in Edinburgh in 1820. 


[To face j>nye 185. 


Dr Gordon says of him most truly : " As a scholar, 
his attainments were of a very high order, and even 
in his old age, he wrote and spoke Latin with great 
facility, purity, and elegance. ... In private life 
Bishop Macdonald was amiable and kind - hearted, 
combining a simplicity and elegance of manners with 
a quiet vein of humour peculiar to himself which 
rendered his society delightful. 

" He did more by his walk and conversation to soften 
down religious prejudices and root out religious anti 
pathies than perhaps any man of his time." Bishop 
Macdonald died at Fort William in 1832, and his 
remains were interred within the Catholic Chapel 

Other priests who served this district between 1800 
and 1850 were Mr James M Gregor (1819-1828), Mr 
William Byrne, Mr Chas. Mackenzie (1832-1839), and 
Mr Archibald Chisholm (1839-1846). 

But to return to the parent mission, the next priest in 
charge after Mr Angus Gillis was Mr William Chisholm, 
a native of Strathglass. He continued in the Braes of 
Lochaber till his death, which took place in 1826. He 
is buried in Killechyrille, where a grave-stone with a 
suitable inscription marks his resting-place. After his 
death Eev. Donald Forbes was appointed to the charge, 
in which he continued till 1878. He was born in 
Strathglass, and at seventeen entered the Highland 
District Seminary of Lismore, and there completed 
the usual course of studies. Having been ordained 
by Bishop Aeneas Chisholm in 1816, he was sent in 
December to take charge of the mission of Badenoch. 
In February 1819 he was transferred to the more 


important mission of Glengarry, but owing to the 
scarcity of priests he had still to supply the wants of 
his former flock. For the next seven years his duties 
were exceedingly laborious, for he was entr 1 ^ ^ 
the care of the extensive districts of Glengarry, (JTICU. 
moriston, Stratherrick, and Badenoch, in each of which 
there was a considerable number of Catholics. With 
a flock so numerous and so widely scattered his 
district must have measured at least fifty miles by 
twenty-five miles and in so mountainous a region, 
the sick calls in particular often proved arduous in 
the extreme ; and the hardships which he underwent 
on these occasions, and the dangers which he often 
incurred, formed a frequent subject of his reminiscences 
in after years. In 1826 he was appointed to the 
mission of the Braes of Lochaber, where he was 
destined to spend the remaining fifty-two years of his 
useful and exemplary life. During the whole of his 
long career he was distinguished by simple and fervent 
piety, and by unremitting attention to all his duties. 
In the course of nearly sixty years of his active ministry 
he never once failed on Sunday or holiday to celebrate 
Mass and preach. His ability as a preacher and 
instructor of youth gained him a reputation which 
extended far beyond the scene of his labours. His 
heart was wholly set on the well-being of his people, 
nearly all of whom as he took pleasure in saying in 
his later years he had baptized ; and they looked on 
him as their father and best friend. They gave ample 
proof of their love and gratitude at the celebration of 
his golden jubilee in 1866. 

Besides the above, it is certain that there were other 


priests in Lochaber for short periods, such as Mr John 
Macdonald, who was afterwards Bishop, and who 
died on 9th May 1779 ; Mr James Grant, afterwards 
Bishop, who died in Aberdeen 2nd December 1778 
and Mr Eanald Macdonald, who also became Bishop 
and of whom mention was made above. But none of 
these appear to belong to the regular succession of 
clergymen in Lochaber. They seem rather to have 
been sent thither either to afford temporary assistance 
to the resident pastors, or to be initiated into their 
duties as missionaries. 

Among the many interesting papers at Achnacarry 
dealing with the history of Lochaber, and indeed of the 
whole of Scotland during the past three hundred years, 
I have transcribed the two following as bearing more 
especially on the Catholic position. The first refers to 
Mr Alexander Cameron, brother of Lochiel. He is said 
to have been for some time an officer in the French 
army, and after that one of the grooms of the bed 
chamber to the Pretender at Eome. Here he seems 
to have joined the Catholic Church and to have 
entered the Society of Jesus, possibly led thereto by 
friendship for the Farquharsons. He certainly was 
associated with Father John Farquharson in the 
mission of Strathglass. The uncle of Lochiel men 
tioned in this letter was Bishop Macdonald, of Morar, 
who blessed Prince Charlie s standard at Glenfinnan. 

" BEAUFORT, 26th Jan. 1743. 

" I send you enclosed, my Dear Laird of Lochiel, the 
dispatches that I have received from my dear Cusine, 
your Brother, yesterday. You may be sure I will take 


all the care I can of him. I will endeavour to persuade 
him to come nearer this place, that I may furnish him 
with all the conveniences of Life, that he cannot get 
where he is ; however, I will do my best that he will 
not want what is necessary where he is. 

"I beg you may use your Endeavours to get an 
order from his Superiors to make him remove to a 
milder climate ; they cannot in honor and conscience 
refuse it, for he has done already more good to his 
church than any ten of his profession has done 
these ten years past, Except your uncle, who is so 
famous for making of Converts. The Earl of Traquair 
is the fittest person to obtain my dear Cousin s liberty 
to go and live in the Low Country out of the very 
wild cold country he has lived in this long time, and 
which occasioned the sickness and infirmities that put 
him at death s door. LOVAT." 

In 1746 Mr Cameron was still in Strathglass, where 
he was arrested and sent from Inverness to London 
a prisoner on board some filthy vessel. Already in 
delicate health at the time the above letter was written, 
his sufferings while in hiding after the battle of 
Culloden must have told severely upon him, and he 
died on board a vessel in the Thames, attended, to his 
immense consolation, by his old friend and fellow- 
worker, Father Farquharson. Mr Cameron was found 
accidentally on one of the hulks by the captain of 
Father Farquharson s boat. The dying priest was 
brought to the larger vessel, was carefully tended 
during his last moments, and was laid to rest in the 
nearest cemetery on the banks of the Thames. 


The next of the Achnacarry papers which I have been 
enabled to transcribe by the kindness of the present 
laird is the Key to a cipher of the time of the 45. 
It is as follows : 

Mr Hunter ^ Mrs Brown. 

Mrs Lucie m* v The Queen. 

John Clerk f 2 ** *9- Mrs Bettie. 

Mrs Peggie J Mr Ritchie s family, The 

Mr Ritchie, The Pope. Cardinals. 

Mr Black, The King of Spain. Mr Baillie, The King of France. 

Mr Barker, The Emperor. Mr Buchan, Czarine. 

Mr Bromley, Duke of Argyle. Mr Can, General Wed (sic). 

Mr Colbert, Duke of Gordon. Mr Coalman, Lord Lovat. 

Mr Dow, Lord Traquair. Mrs Enster, Bishop Fullerton. 

The Brewers, The Presbyterians. Mrs Enster s children, High 

Episcopal Clergy. 
Mr Hart, Lord Nithsdale. Mr MacKie, Macpherson, 


Mr Morton, Glenbucket. Mr Red (Reid), Keppoch. 

Mr Turner, Lochiel. Mr John Wallace, Lochiel 


Etc. Etc. 

Au Caffee de Don Carlos rue letify (?) a Paris. 

Of the ecclesiastical buildings still remaining in 
Lochaber, the most interesting to the Catholics is 
that within the cemetery of Killechyrille. By the 
care of the present pastor of the mission, assisted by 
the laird, The Mackintosh of Mackintosh, the ddbris 
which at one time almost closed up the inside has been 
removed, and as far as possible replaced in its original 
position. The result is that the walls are eight or nine 
feet high all round, whilst one of the windows is still 
complete. When this chapel was last used is uncertain 
probably a couple of centuries ago. The present 


chapel was built in 1826, on a spot the beauty of 
which it would indeed be difficult to equal. Previous 
to that date the chapel was at Achluachrach, a mile 
higher up the river, close to the present Glenspean 
shooting lodge. It was here that a somewhat unusual 
incident occurred. Probably owing to the long in 
cumbency of Mr Angus Gillis, the Achluachrach chapel, 
a lengthy, low barn with thatched roof, continued to 
be used long after it had become a somewhat unsafe 
piece of building. One Sunday during the first year 
of Father Forbes s residence in Lochaber, the good folk 
were hearkening to his eloquent words at the end of 
Mass, when suddenly the roof was seen to give, and 
with a cry of alarm the congregation made for the door. 
A fair number thus made their exit in respectable 
fashion, but a large proportion are known to have found 
the windows an easier means of egress, and to have cut 
their hands and arms in the process. The building was 
scarcely empty when the roof fell in, but without 
causing injury to any one. Now that the present 
humble chapel of the Braes of Lochaber has done duty 
for over eighty years, it is pleasant to know that the 
incumbent of the mission is preparing to replace it 
by one more in keeping with the times. But if the 
old chapel cannot boast of architectural beauty, it will 
be difficult indeed to equal the natural beauty of the 
situation, placed as it is half-way down the charmingly 
wooded brae, with the rapid Spean river rushing through 
a deep gorge immediately below. 


WHEN writing of Strathglass on a previous occasion 1 
I mentioned that "from the Eeformation until the 
beginning of last century, the Catholics in the Aird 
and in Strathglass received no more support from 
the two chief families of the neighbourhood, namely, 
the Frasers and the Chisholms, than was to be 
expected from the heads of clans who looked upon 
all their clansmen, whatever might be their religion, 
as members of their own family." It would, however, 
appear that, for some time at least after the change 
of religion on the part of the Parliament of Scotland, 
the Laird of Strathglass retained the old Faith, for 
I find that "in 1579 Thomas Chisholm, Laird of 
Strathglass, was summoned before the Court for his 
adhesion to the ancient creed." This fact was brought 
to my notice by a pamphlet " A Memoir of the Mission 
of Strathglass," which is a faithful reprint of an earlier 
one published about fifty-five years ago by the late Mr 
John Boyd, founder and publisher of the Antigonish 
Casket. In the Introduction we are told that " the exact 
date of the Memoir cannot be ascertained, as the date 
on the title page is missing. It could not, however, 

1 " Ancient Catholic Homes of Scotland," p. 96, 



have been later than 1851, for the late Bishop Fraser, 
of blessed memory, who died in the October of that 
year, was living at the time, as may be seen by the 
pamphlet itself. The author certainly knew what he 
was writing about. The pamphlet was reprinted last 
year in order to rescue from probable oblivion a very 
interesting chapter in the history of the Catholic 
Church in the Highlands of Scotland." 

It is pleasing to find so much interest taken in the 
country of their adoption by the former inhabitants 
of Strathglass, who will no doubt be pleased to learn 
that the pamphlet, of which the authorship is thought 
to be unknown, was composed by Kev. Angus Mackenzie, 
priest of Eskadale, whose original notes are still in the 
possession of his successor in the Strathglass mission. 
The memoir will be found in full in the Scotch 
Directory of 1846. 1 

The fact that the Laird of Strathglass suffered 
imprisonment in 1579 is important as showing that 
he set the example of steadfastness to the ancient faith. 
When his descendants later conformed to the State 
religion, the inhabitants of the glen adhered to their first 
resolution, and hence Catholicity has always prospered 
there. Another cause which favoured the maintenance 
of Catholic traditions and rendered possible the erection 
of churches and of the priest s house here, when they 
were proscribed in other parts of Scotland, was that 
there is no main road through this glen to the west 
coast. At Fasnakyle the chapel was situated where 
it could only be approached by the road leading from 

1 The larger part of Father Mackenzie s Memoir is given, and as 
nearly as possible in his own words. 


the lower end of Strathglass, eighteen miles distant. 
This will, no doubt, account for the fact that while 
the entire territory northwards, and the other adjacent 
districts, with a few exceptions of modern date, 
embraced and still cling to the innovations of the 
so-called Reformation, the inhabitants of Strathglass 
should from a comparatively remote period form so 
singular a contrast by their uniform adherence to the 
Catholic Faith. It is amongst the earliest recollections 
of the oldest people yet living (1846) that a native 
Protestant could hardly be met with in the district. 

During the interval between 1580 and 1600 the 
period marked by the renewed activity of the Jesuits 
in Scotland the spiritual destitution of Strathglass 
attracted thither their zealous attention. The severity 
of the laws, however, and the activity of their pursuers, 
forced them to retire from the district. From the 
date of their departure, this mission must have been 
for a length of time without a pastor. According to 
the tradition of the present inhabitants, the interval 
between 1660 and 1680 is the date of the revival 
of the Catholic Faith in Strathglass. This revival was 
effected by the conversion of Colin, son of the Chisholm 
of Strathglass who settled at Knockfin, and was the 
first of the family afterwards styled " of Knockfin." This 
circumstance became known to the missionaries who 
about this time found their way to Glengarry, and 
two of them repaired immediately to Strathglass. They 
were received by Colin of Knockfiu, who informed them 
of his own conversion and of the friendly disposition 
of his father. Finding thus a confirmation of the 
reports which they had previously heard, they deter- 

VOL. I. N 


mined to settle in the country. Of the state of religion 
in Strathglass at this period, or of the Apostolic labours 
of these priests, nothing more is known than that 
they opened two stations, the one in a remote locality 
near Knockfin, where a humble chapel must have 
been built, as the place to this day is called Achada- 
na h-eaglais (the Church field), the other about the 
centre of the district, at a place called Clachan Comar. 
The walls of the chapel are still five to six feet in 
height, whilst the old holy water font remains, and 
has been placed at the entrance to the chapel. The 
graveyard round about is most closely filled with 
graves, and indeed the situation of the whole is most 
picturesque, being encircled by a belt of trees and 
placed in the centre of the beautiful fertile strath. 

The next priest who is known to have served this 
mission is a Mr M Kae, of whose history we only 
know that he was the immediate predecessor of Mr 
John Farquharson. Of Father John a good deal is 
known, and yet it is little less than a national calamity 
that far more is not known. He was, according to 
Browne s " History of the Highlands," the first person 
who made a collection of Gaelic poetry. His collec 
tion contained all that Macpherson collected, and 
other pieces besides. In reply to questions by Bishop 
Cameron, Kev. James Macgillivray, who had been a 
student at Douai under Father John, stated that he 
recollected very distinctly having heard Mr Farquharson 
say that he had all these (Macpherson s) poems in 
his collection; that he never saw Father John at a 
loss to find the original in the MS. when any observa 
tion occurred upon any passage, and that he heard 



Showing the walls of the old Chapel and Font. 

[To ft ic t> page 11)4. 


Mr Farquharson often regret that Macpherson had 
not found or published several poems contained in his 
MS. and of no less merit than any of those laid "before 
the public; that Mr Farquharson came to Scotland 
in 1773 leaving the MS. in the Scots College of Douai, 
where Mr Macgillivray had occasion to see it frequently 
during his stay there till 1775 ; but, he said, it had 
got into the hands of young men who did not under 
stand Gaelic, and was much tattered, and several leaves 
had been torn out ; that the late Principal of the College 
who was then only a student there, remembered very 
well having seen the leaves of the mutilated MS. torn 
up to kindle the fire of their stove. When we remember 
that Father Farquharson at his arrival in Strathglass 
did not know Gaelic and had there to begin a systematic 
study of it with the assistance of Mrs Fraser, of 
Culbokie, we can form some idea of the labour of 
forming such a collection, which was "in folio, large 
paper, about three inches thick, written close and in a 
small letter." The destruction of this manuscript was 
indeed a great loss, as the poems collected during Father 
Farquharson s residence of thirty years in Strathglass 
might have contained many pieces of local interest, 
besides those published by Macpherson. During this 
long stay of thirty years, Mr Grant in his " Braes of 
Mar," assures us that the natives of Strathglass fondly 
loved Mr John Maighistir Ian, as they call him ; and 
they welcome warmly, even now, a Braemar man for his 
sake. They tell many wonderful anecdotes concern 
ing him, says Mr Grant in the above-mentioned work, 
p. 228, and he then relates the following, which I will 
give in his own charming, half -Gaelic style. 


On his way to visit a sick person, Maighistir Ian 
reached the Cannich, a tributary of the Glass. He 
was accompanied by his clerk " clerach," the Strath- 
glass folk call that official. In order to ford the 
stream, the father found that it would be necessary 
to divest himself of a garment that shall be nameless, 
and only after the passage discovered that he had 
left it behind him. On looking back, he perceived 
on the other bank a dwarfish, ugly old carle to all 
appearance about to cross after him. " Fhir sin thall," 
cried the father therefore, " thoir nail mo bhriogais ? " 
The carle paid no heed. " Fhir sin thall," repeats he, 
in louder tone, "nach toir thu nail mo bhriogais." 
" You fellow there, won t you fetch over my trousers ? " 
"The nasty old body," muttered he to the clerach, 
"he does not heed me. You just go over for them." 
The clerach draws back. "I don t like the look of 
that * bodach at all, Maighistir Ian." In fine Maighistir 
Ian finds, if he would possess himself of his garments, 
he must even go himself. Now mark what befell. 
Just as he nears the bank, the old carle, with a noise 
like a thousand thunders, and spitting fire, flame, and 
smoke, dived into the river and disappeared. The 
clerach in terror swooned away, and did not recover 
till the good father, no way dismayed on his part, 
stood beside him with his raiment all properly adjusted. 

Maighistir Ian had often enough hard times of it. 
The clerach would then sally out to forage, and would, 
alas! more frequently than desirable, return empty- 
handed. While he was thus employed one evening, 
a beggar applied at the priest s door for alms. One 
small basinful of meal was all the house contained, 


but Maighistir Ian would share to the last with the 
poor, so, as he held the basin to give away the half, 
his whole store some way fell down into the beggar s 

" Eo mhath, ro mhath, dar thuit e ort bhi falbh leis/ 
said he. 

" Well, well, as it fell to you, be going with it." 

The clerach by and by returned, tired and dis 
appointed and cross. Alack ! was ever mortal more 
unfortunate? Now "lese" me on good brose a sub 
stantial dish. The clerach will regain his good-humour, 
and satisfy the cravings of hunger. But woe betide ! 
even this is denied him the meal basin is empty 
and desolate like his own stomach. He learns with 
indignation the prodigal charity of the good father, 
and storms dreadfully against him. 

" Have some faith, man, and confide in Providence," 
mildly expostulates Maighistir Ian; "we may yet be 
rejoiced by a good meal." 

But the clerach sits by the fire in great dumps, 
chewing the cud of bitter reflection, instead of masti 
cating strong kail brose. You might have easily seen 
that he considered Providence s providings grievously 
below the mark. Hark! a tap is heard at the door, 
the clerach runs forth, and finds there a man on horse 
back, who, without speaking, hands him a bag, and 
rides away through the night. The bag was big-bellied 
and ponderous, the bag emitted a savoury odour, the 
bag made the clerach s mouth water as he emptied it, 
tearing out its contents with both hands on the table 
before his master. And truly it contained very many 
excellent things of the eatable order, and truly the 


clerach regaled himself with Maighistir Ian on the 
rarest viands. "Another time, clerach," quoth the 
priest, "you will know better." As to the purveyor 
of the feast the strange horseman you will learn 
without any wonder that he was never heard of again. 

Father John Farquharson was twice taken prisoner : 
the first time to Fort Augustus, the second time he 
was transported to the penal settlement of Hanover. 
The captain of the vessel which carried the priest 
to Hanover reminded Father John that he performed 
his duty by landing his prisoners in Hanover, and 
would return to England by such a tide. The hint 
was quite enough ; and when the captain cleared the 
Hanoverian coast, the priest suddenly appeared at the 
captain s table. He was brought safely back, without 
incurring danger or expense. 

Born in 1699, he had entered the Society of Jesus 
at Tournay. Towards the end of October 1729 he 
landed in Edinburgh, and presumably passed at once 
to Strathglass. We have Bishop Cameron s authority 
that he worked thirty years in the Glen, say till about 
1759, when he was appointed Prefect of Studies at 
Douai. Here he remained till 1772, when he went 
to his nephew s residence at Inverey. He died in 
1782. 1 

It was but a few years before his death that the 
following incident occurred. It seems that at the Scots 
College at Douai, the sons of Episcopalian Jacobites 
were not infrequently received. One of the last of 
these was the amiable Colonel Spens of Craigsanquhar. 
He died in 1848 at the age of ninety. When Spens 
1 Celtic Magazine, January 1782, 


was at Douai, Father John Farquharson was superior 
a man so my authority says of elegant manners, 
and much respected by every one. He was an accom 
plished scholar, and so popular amongst the people 
that at the breaking out of the French Eevolution, 
when the clergy were in great danger, his escape and 
that of the Scottish students was facilitated by the 
inhabitants of the town. He escaped with them in 
disguise, and after many perils succeeded in reaching 
England. Colonel Spens used to relate that once 
standing at his own door he saw in the distance a 
tall, handsome man of fine presence coming up the 
avenue. Viewing him through a glass, he said to 
his wife : " If I thought he were alive, I should say 
that that was my good old tutor, the Abbe ; but I 
fear that he has perished." However, his surmise 
was a true one, and he immediately had to welcome 
his ancient instructor. I give the account as it 
appears in the Edinburgh Review (January, 1846), 
although there must be some error in the dates, as 
authentic records tell of Father John s death in 

The late Mr Colin Chisholm, who was conversant 
with all the traditions of Strathglass, published in 
the Celtic Magazine, January 1882, most interesting 
details regarding Father John. From this we learn 
that "in order to avoid detection as a priest, Father 
Farquharson used to dress in the kilt and tartan hose 
like the men of the district, and was so dressed on 
one occasion when celebrating Mass in his sacerdotals 
in the old meeting-house at Balanahoun, when a 
party of soldiers entered the building. Over and 


over again I heard an eye-witness, at that time a 
young lad, and who was along with his mother on 
that occasion, describe the distressing scene as 
follows: As soon as the red -coats came in at the 
door, one of them, whom he called Sergeant Eushard 
(Richard), rushed up to the altar and told the priest 
that he was his prisoner. At this moment all the 
men in the house started to their feet and vowed 
that they would bury every one of the soldiers in the 
floor of the house. Now came the priest s difficulty to 
keep his congregation from attacking and slaughter 
ing his captors. By his great command over his 
people he succeeded. But seeing the men forming 
into a solid phalanx outside, and determined to release 
him, Father John turned round, drew an imaginary 
line on the ground, and forbade any man present, on 
pain of instant excommunication, to follow him across 
that line. The ladies of the congregation construed 
the threat as directed only against the men, and they 
accompanied their pastor for about a quarter of an 
mile, to a spot where they had to cross a small burn 
called Alt-a-bhodaich. Here Mairi ni n Ian Euaidh, 
great-grandmother of Eev. Hugh Chisholm, now priest 
at St Miren s, Paisley, 1 darted in, close to the side 
of Father John, and took the maniple off his arm. 
Encouraged by her success, an aunt of the late Bishop 
Macdonell, of Canada (Mairi ni n Ailean), got hold 
of the chasuble, and when in the act of pulling it 
over the priest s head, she received a sabre blow from 
one of the soldiers, which cut her head, and felled her, 

1 He died in 1908. As Provost of the Archdiocese of Glasgow, he 
was beloved and respected of all who knew him, 


bleeding, to the ground. The wound did not prove 
fatal, but Mairi ni n Ailean felt its effects for the 
rest of her life. When her grave was opened many 
years after her death to receive the body (I think 
of her husband), her skull was discovered to have been 
cut, and the two edges of the bone seemed to have 
joined again as if dove-tailed together like the teeth 
of a hand-saw. After this sword-stroke the soldiers 
crossed over the old wooden bridge at Fasnakyle, and 
handed Father John a prisoner to the Chisholm on the 
green at Comar House. By this time a great crowd had 
gathered. The Chisholm invited Father Farquharson 
to walk upstairs and join the ladies, while he himself 
had his influence taxed to the utmost endeavour to 
keep his people and the soldiers from imbruing their 
hands in each others blood. The above statement I 
heard repeatedly from an eye-witness Colin Chisholm, 
senior, formerly tacksman of Lietry, Glencannich." 

On his return from his first imprisonment Father 
John withdrew to the Brae of Craskie in Glencannich, 
where a temporary residence was prepared for him 
under the cliff of a big boulder. Here he was joined 
by his brother and Father Alex. Cameron. The three 
were priests of the Society of Jesus. 

Their watch-tower commands a view of the road 
leading from the plains of Strathglass to Glencannich 
for about three miles. Here they were safe, so long as 
they chose to remain in it. Tradition says that Father 
John used to emerge occasionally from his domicile to 
administer to the wants of his neighbours. The people 
residing in the plains of Strathglass used in turn to go 
and receive the consolations of religion in Glencannich, 


It is morally certain that Father Farquharson, like 
his predecessors, baptized infants about that time in 
a capacious cup-stone formed by some freak of nature 
into a rude baptismal font. This font, " Clach - a- 
Bhaistidh," is said to have been used for baptisms 
from time immemorial. In order to protect it from 
damage, it was removed to the vicinity of the Marydale 
church, and was placed on a stone column by the late 
Captain Macrae Chisholm. 

But to return to the three priests in their shelter 
at Craskie, which soon became known to their enemies. 
At the time that the two priests mentioned above were 
taking shelter with Father John, two men were sent 
to apprehend him in his cave. The people represent 
him as endowed with the foreknowledge of coming 
events, and in this instance he is said to have told his 
two companions that his pursuers were making fast 
towards him that flight in his case was impossible, 
but that they might still save themselves, as intelligence 
of their arrival had not yet gone abroad. After this 
conversation, the more effectually to cover the retreat, 
he set out to meet those who were in search of him, 
and soon fell into their hands. Father Charles returned 
to Braemar, and Father Cameron to his native country 
Lochaber. There he was soon after arrested and sent 
as a prisoner to London, where he died. It would 
appear that he had done good work as a missionary in 
Strathglass, as is shown by the following extract from 
the Dingwall Presbytery Kecords. 1 

1 Celtic Review, December 1884. 


"At DINGWALL, 27M April 1743. 

" The Presbytery do appoint their Commissioners to 
the ensuing General Assembly, to lay before the said 
Assembly the following brief representation respecting 
the state and growth of Popery in their bounds, par 
ticularly that the Presbytery do find, besides Mr John 
Farquharson, a Jesuit Priest, who, for several years, 
resided and trafficked in the Chisholm s country as 
a Poppish Missionary, that there is one, Alex. 
Cameron, brother to the present Laird of Locheale, 
who hath lately settled in the part of Strathglass that 
pertains to Lord Lovet, and is employed as a Poppish 
Missionary in that neighbourhood and Glenstrathfarrar, 
and trafficks with great success ; and he hath great 
advantage by his connection with the inhabitants of 
Lochaber, which gives the people in these corners, 
wherein he is employed, occasion to suppose that it 
is in his power to protect them and their cattle from 
the invasions of the people of that country, or to 
avenge himself upon them by their means, ly which 
the few Protestants that are there are much dis 
couraged, and kept in perpetual terror; that several 
arguments and methods are said to be used by him 
that would more become a country where Popery had 
the advantage of law in its favours than places that 
are under a Protestant Government, by all which means 
the Presbytery do find that a greater number have 
been perverted to Popery in those parts within these 
few months than thirty years before. The Presbytery 
do instruct their Commissioners to urge the Assembly 
to take the matters above mentioned to their serious 
and reasonable consideration, and endeavour to procure 


the Assembly s particular recommendation to the Com 
mittee for Eeformation of the Highlands to take special 
care for providing these corners, not only with a well- 
qualified preacher, such as is there presently employed, 
but also with a Catechist and schoolmaster, and that 
the Assembly give proper order for executing the 
laws against the said Messrs John Farquharson and 
Alexander Cameron, and that the assembly use their 
interests with the superiors and heritors of the parishes 
of Killtarlitie and Kilmorack, to protect the Protestant 
religion in their bounds, and discourage, by all reason 
able and likely means, the Roman Catholic religion." 

As we have already heard of Father Cameron under 
Lochaber, of which he was a native, let us now see 
Father John Farquharson in a new rdle, that of poet 
at the expense of the notorious Simon, Lord Lovat. 
Again Mr Colin Chisholm is our authority, 1 who says, 
" it is evident from the very plain terms in which he 
addressed and warned his neighbour (Lord Simon) 
that he had no very high opinion of him. His lordship 
had incarcerated the priest s clerk in the "Ked 
Dungeon" at Beauly for fishing salmon in the river 
Glass, at Fasnakyle, about twenty miles above the 
Falls of Kilmorack. His reverence went to obtain the 
release of his clerk, but my Lord Simon was obdurate, 
and refused to open the door of the cell. It will be 
seen that the priest was very displeased, but he was 
not to be foiled by any old or young sinner; con 
sequently, he fulminated the severe censure embodied 
in the subjoined verses against his lordship. 

" Soon after, Lord Simon attended a dinner party at 
1 Celtic Magazine t November 1881, 



Eskadale, on which occasion one of the gentlemen 
present recited the verses. Lovat at once attributed 
them to Mrs Fraser, of Guisachan, a well-known poet, 
but being assured that the author was no other than 
Eev. Mr Farquharson, his lordship appeared much 
confused, scarcely uttered another word at the party, 
and soon went on his way to Beaufort Castle. Self- 
willed as he is said to have been, it seems that he had 
no wish to call forth any more disagreeable prophecies, 
for he immediately released the clerk." It is noticeable 
that the good priest clearly foretells that Lord Simon s 
body would be without its head no very difficult 
matter, perhaps, seeing how he was on all sides suspected 
of being traitor " to both Kings." 

It must have needed no little pluck on the part of 
the good priest, himself an outlaw eagerly sought after 
at the time, thus to risk the anger of so reckless a 
nobleman. Pluck, however, Father John certainly had, 
as was but fitting for the son of old Lewis Farquharson, 
of Auchindryne, of whom the story is told that being 
very aged at the time of the Eising of 1715, he yet 
insisted on taking the field with his kindred, saying : " I 
am old now, and of little use ; but what reck ? If 
my lads should no do their duty, can I no sheet 
them ? " 

Mr Farquharson, in the words of our Memoir, was 
soon enlarged, and returned once more to Strath- 
glass, where he continued for several years serving the 
mission. At length he retired to his native country, 
Braemar, where, according to the charming inscription 
on his tombstone, "he spent the evening of his days 
as chaplain to his nephew, Alexander Farquharson, 


of Inverey, and died at Balmoral, 22nd August 

Father John Farquharson was followed by Father 
Norman M Leod. Further than the recollections of 
his holy and edifying life, the history of the mission 
during his incumbency affords no other facts than that 
he built a rude chapel, but suited to the circumstances 
of the times in which he lived. 1 At an advanced age 
he retired to Edinburgh, and was succeeded by Father 
John Chisholm, a native of Strathglass. He was born 
in Inchully in February 1752, and was early sent to the 
Scots College of Douai, then directed by the Jesuits. 
On their expulsion from France he went to the 
novitiate of the Order at Tournay. When the Jesuits 
were suppressed in 1773, he returned to Douai College, 
which by that time had been entrusted to the secular 
clergy. Kegarding his stay at the Jesuit Novitiate, he 
thus writes to a friend in 1807, fifteen years after his 
consecration as Bishop : " I wish I was allowed once 
more to begin my novitiate ; the only year I had of it 
was, I believe, the best of my life." From 1775 till 
1792 he laboured with great fruit in the Strathglass 
mission, where his kinship with the laird was of great 
advantage to him. Indeed, very soon he so ingratiated 
himself with the Chisholm that it was no longer a 
matter of toleration to have a priest in the country. 
He successfully procured the respect of all the families 
of distinction in the surrounding districts, and was 
the first who made a breach in the rampant bigotry 
which had till then continued to strain on every side 

1 So great was the attachment of the people to him that they called 
their sons after him. 


the Strathglass mission. At length his increasing 
popularity began to awaken the jealousy of the parsons, 
who now began to consult among themselves "what 
was to be done with the popish priest ? " when a favour 
able circumstance, as they thought, presented itself. 
Father Chisholm had opened a station in the low 
division of Strathglass. The place which he was 
obliged to fix upon was in the immediate neighbour 
hood of a barn in which the Presbyterian missionary 
who came occasionally to that quarter preached. This 
was construed by the local Presbytery into a piece of 
effrontery that required an immediate check. They 
met, therefore, and it was resolved that the members 
of the meeting should head a party to seize the priest. 
But an untimely observation by one of the brethren, 
hinting " that they might set out on such a mission, 
but that would not warrant the safety of their bones 
till they returned," daunted them not a little. The 
expedition was abandoned, and Father Chisholm was 
left unmolested. 

Regarding the several small chapels at Fasnakyle, 
Clachan, Aigas, and Inchully, I find an interesting 
piece of evidence from a most unexpected source. A 
Mr John Knox in 1786 published " A Tour through 
the Highlands of Scotland." It is written with a strong 
anti-Catholic bias, yet at one point he says " that the 
(Protestant) clergy, when they do arrive at the preach 
ing station, find the people in the same situation as 
themselves, drenched with wet, shivering with cold, and 
alike exposed to all the inclemencies of weather during 
the time of service, and on their journey back to their 
comfortless huts." He further informs us that " while 


the Protestant clergy are in this wretched condition, 
having neither dwelling-houses nor places to preach in, 
those of the Catholic persuasion in the Highlands have 
both, and which are kept in excellent repair." To 
which we might add that the Protestant clergy had 
always their stipend, small though it may perhaps 
have been, but that the Catholic clergy depended 
entirely on the alms of the faithful. Without doubt it is 
a most remarkable fact that despite so much discourage 
ment not to mention absolute persecution on the 
part of those in authority, the Catholic Faith has been 
maintained in so many of the glens of Scotland in 
almost primitive simplicity. There is a charm about 
this simple religious faith which was a striking 
characteristic of both people and pastors as recently as 
fifty years ago, and of which the remains are still often 
to be seen. 

In 1791 Father John Chisholm was appointed Bishop 
of the Highland district, and was consecrated by Bishop 
Hay on the 12th February 1792. He left the entire 
charge of the Strathglass mission, which he had served 
for seventeen years, to his brother, Mr Aeneas. Bishop 
John having fixed his episcopal see, like his predecessor, 
at the small seminary at Samalaman, thence transferred 
both his residence and seminary to Killechiaran, in the 
island of Lismore, where he died on 8th July 1814. 
Father Aeneas came to the Strathglass mission in 1789, 
and at first resided chiefly at his father s house at 
Inchully, where he built a small chapel, which stands 
to this day, but is now occupied as a dwelling-house. 
In 1793 he obtained the appointment of Father Austin 
M Donell to the lower portion of the mission, whilst 


he himself retained the upper district, in which he built 
at Fasnakyle a chapel on a far more elaborate scale than 
had been hitherto possible. Father Aeneas also extended 
his missionary zeal as far as Inverness, where in 1810 a 
room was procured, and as the congregation increased 
the work of attending to it was transferred to the 
priest at Aigas. Here Father Austin M Donell was 
much assisted by Mr Fraser, of Moulie, a convert to 
the Catholic Church, on whose property at Aigas a 
chapel was opened in 1801. 

Bishop Aeneas Chisholm was succeeded at Fasnakyle 
by Mr Philip Macrae, who had been appointed to the 
Aigas mission in 1812, where he was now succeeded 
by Mr Evan Maceachen. These two continued to super 
intend their respective missions under the paternal 
guidance of Bishop Aeneas, who ever remained devoted 
to his first flock. In 1818 Mr Maceachen was removed 
from Aigas to Braernar, and was immediately succeeded 
by Mr Duncan Mackenzie. 

During the incumbency of these two missioners, 
Thomas, Lord Lovat, desirous to provide better accom 
modation for the congregation of the lower district, 
"built a chapel at Eskadale on a scale of grandeur 
hitherto unknown in the Highlands." It was opened in 
1826, and here, at his death in 1875, he was laid to rest. 
His tomb may be seen on the left of the chancel. 

Mr Duncan Mackenzie died at Eskadale in 1828, 
and Mr Macrae in 1842. In 1827 Mr Alexander 
Macswein had charge of the whole of Strathglass in 
consequence of the ill-health of Mr Macrae, but in 
1833 Mr Thomas Chisholm was appointed to the 
mission of Fasnakyle, where he remained until 1848. 

YOL. l ? Q 


The ranks of the Catholics in the Upper Mission of 
Strathglass had been for some time becoming thinner, 
when Mr Angus Mackenzie wrote his Memoir; still 
the parent mission can look with complacency on 
the congregations to which it gave existence, namely, 
Eskadale, Inverness, Marydale, and Beauly. Of the 
two last named, Marydale is the successor of the 
Fasnakyle chapel mentioned above. It stands at the 
junction of Glencannich and Strathglass, and was 
opened in 1868. The church at Beauly, which was 
opened in 1864, was, like that at Eskadale, built by 
Thomas, Lord Lovat, and is situated on land adjoining 
the venerable ruins of Beauly Priory. 

In 1814 Father Aeneas Chisholm succeeded his 
brother as Vicar Apostolic of the Highland district, 
and removed to the seminary at Lismore, where he 
died in 1818. An interesting link between the old 
country and her Canadian daughter is afforded by a 
relic of these two holy bishops. It is thus described 
in the Tablet, 18th January 1908. " In Antigonish, an 
old woman brought out from her breast a beautiful 
pectoral cross, a peculiar cross with two cross-bars, 
like an archiepiscopal processional cross, with the 
inscription, S. Ignati, ora pro me ; on the reverse 
was, Sine peccato originali. I asked if she knew 
anything of the history of the cross, She replied, 
No, only that she had heard that it once belonged 
to the Easbuigean bana, the fair Bishops. Now the 
fair Bishops were Bishops John and Aeneas Chisholm, 
Vicars Apostolic, who are buried in the island of 
Lismore, near Oban. She had it from her mother-in- 
law, a Mrs M Quarrie, from the island of Eigg, in the 


Old Country, whose maiden name was Macdonnell. 
With these data, I wrote to the parish priest of Indique, 
Cape Breton, the Kev. Archibald Chisholm, who seems 
to have the Highland traditions at his fingers ends. I 
asked him if he could help me to trace the beautiful 
relic back to the Easbuigean bana/ Mrs M Quarrie 
being a Macdonell. I got a reply by return of post, 
stating that he had no doubt but the cross belonged 
to the fair Bishops. They had a sister, who married 
a Macdonell of Glengarry. She had three daughters: 
one married a man in Skye, another married a 
M Quarrie in Eigg, and a third came out with Father 
Macdonell, who was afterwards first Bishop of 
Kingston, Ontario. She was not more than six weeks 
in America when she married an Allan M Nab, who 
was later or his son Sir Allan M Nab, Prime Minister 
of Canada, at Ottawa. This same priest has in his 
possession the book of the spiritual exercises of St 
Ignatius, as also a flask, which were once the property 
of Father John Farquharson in Strathglass." In the 
same letter to the Tablet the writer mentions his 
pleasure at finding "in the diocese of Antigonish 
80,000 Catholics, of whom no fewer than 45,000 are 
Gaelic - speaking. . . . There are sixty Gaelic-speaking 
priests and fifty Gaelic-speaking nuns, at the head of 
whom is the venerable Gaelic-speaking bishop, Eight 
Eev. John Cameron, D.D. What is equally satisfac 
tory is that the best Highland Catholic traditions are 
nurtured and fostered by the people. Home Highland 
Catholicity cannot hold a candle to the sturdy Gaelic 
Catholicity of Nova Scotia." 

Two interesting lists are now before me, the one 


contains the names and birthplaces of twenty-five priests 
(including four bishops), friends of the late Mr Colin 
Chisholm, who had all been born in Strathglass, but 
had died previous to the date at which he wrote ; the 
other contains the name and birthplace of seventeen 
Strathglass priests (including two bishops), who were 
still living. From Canada a further list of twenty- 
seven Strathglass priests in that country has been sent 
me ; little wonder that Mr Mackenzie could write in 
1846 "as a nursery of priests, Strathglass is not 
less deserving of note." 

And now for another matter of less ecclesiastical 
interest the sufferings in the Glen after the 45. 
Eegarding the former, the Celtic Magazine for May 1881 
has the following : The people on the farm of Tombuie 
in Glencannich were shearing corn on the dell of 
Tombuie, when, to their terror, they saw a party of 
red-coated soldiers just approaching their houses. 
Immediately they took themselves to the hills. But 
the frantic screaming of an unfortunate wife, who had 
gone to the field to assist her husband and family, 
reminded them that the baby was left asleep at home. 
There was no way of reaching the house or extracting 
the poor infant before the soldiers could reach it. So 
the terrified people at Tombuie made all haste to the 
rocks at the east side of Glaic - na - Caillich. While 
thus concealed in the cliffs of the rocks eagerly watch 
ing every movement on the plains below, they saw one 
of the soldiers enter the house where the little one 
was peacefully asleep. It afterwards transpired that 
in drawing his sword out of its scabbard to despatch 
the innocent occupant of the cradle, the rays of the 


sun flashing on the polished metal reflected a blaze of 
light around the cradle. The innocent little creature 
clapped his tiny hands and laughed at the pretty light 
playing round its crib. At the sight of the baby s 
smiles his would - be executioner stood awed and 
hesitating between the orders he had received and 
the dictates of conscience ; he put his sword back into 
its scabbard, and was turning out of the house when 
he was met by a comrade, who questioned him as to 
whether he had found any person inside. He answered 
in the negative. This suspicious comrade, however, 
dashed into the house, and, horrible to relate, emerged 
out of it triumphantly carrying the mangled body of 
the infant transfixed on the point of his sword. Not 
satisfied with this brutal act, the monster threatened 
to report his comrade who had spared the life of 
the infant. His more humane companion, however, 
incensed at the fiendish spectacle before him, instantly 
unsheathed his sword, planted the point of it on the 
breast of the cowardly assassin, and vowed by heaven 
and earth that he would in another moment force the 
sword to the hilt through his merciless heart if he 
did not withdraw his threat, and promise on oath never 
to repeat it. Thus the dastardly ruffian was instantly 
compelled at the point of the sword to beg for his own 
execrable and diabolical life. 

It is wonderful that only twelve years after these 
and similar atrocities spread fear and terror through 
the Highlands, Hon. Simon Eraser should be able to 
raise 800 men for the service of the Crown, and that 
at a time when he was not possessed of an inch 
of land. To the above number were added 700 


more brought by the gentlemen to whom he gave 
commissions. A large proportion of the whole were 
men from Strathglass. The memory of their deeds 
in Canada is still fresh in the Dominion, where they 
greatly distinguished themselves under the command 
of their natural leader Hon. Simon Fraser. In con 
sequence of his services, the English Government 
promoted him to the rank of Lieutenant-General, and 
restored to him the family estates of Lovat, forfeited 
in 1746. Again, in 1775, General Eraser raised two 
battalions of 2,340 men, known as the Fraser High 
landers the old 71st Kegiment. The General himself 
was a great favourite with all the men under his 
command, as also in Strathglass. Here are two tales 
from the pen of Mr Colin Chisholm, whose account 
I have followed in the preceding. John Macdonell, 
tenant on the Fraser estates, left Inchvuilt, in Glen- 
strathfarrar, to join the Fraser Highlanders. He was 
distinguished from his neighbours by the patronymic 
of Ian Buidhe-mor. The men, on the eve of their 
departure for the north, were assembled at Inverness, 
the transports riding at anchor in the Sound of Kessock 
ready to sail. They were all mustered on the south 
side of the Ness, and answered to their names. All 
were ordered to be in readiness to embark the follow 
ing morning, and every precaution was taken to carry 
this order into effect ; but under cover of night, our 
hero, John Buidhe-mor, eluded the vigilance of the 
guards and patrols in town. He, however, felt that 
it was of no use to attempt crossing the old stone 
bridge the only one at that time in Inverness ; the 
river was in high flood, but John was not to be foiled. 



He went down to the large ferry-boat which in those 
days busily plied between the Maggot and the Merkinch. 
When he reached the boat he found it firmly secured 
by a strong iron chain, fixed in a large stone, and 
locked. What was to be done ? Neither chain nor 
lock could be broken without making a noise which 
might betray him. At last the happy thought occurred 
to him to try whether he could not move the stone 
into the boat. John, a man of herculean size and 
strength, succeeded in lifting it, arid placing it in 
the craft, and having rowed himself quietly across, 
he left boat and stone in that position to sink or 
float as they pleased. With all the speed he could 
command, John went off to Inchvuilt, a distance of 
more than thirty-two miles from Inverness. He gave 
his wife and children some important instructions 
about the farm, bade them an affectionate farewell, 
and retraced his steps to Inverness. 

As the muster roll was being called over next day, 
John was found missing. This led to unfavourable 
comments on his non-appearance, but General Eraser 
would not listen to the supposition that he had 
deserted. Just as the men were about to embark, a 
man in kilt and shirt was seen coming in great haste 
towards the camp, who, on approaching nearer, was dis 
covered to be no other than the missing Ian Buidhe- 
mor, having walked over sixty-four miles during the 
night. " John," said General Eraser, " where have you 
been ? " " Only to see my wife and children ! " was 
John s reply. 1 

Another Strathglass man in this distinguished regi- 

1 Celtic Magazine, July 1881. 


ment was Alexander Macdonell from Invercannich 
known by the patronymic of Alastair Dubh. His 
courage and daring seem to have been the admiration 
of the whole regiment. By the united testimony of 
his countrymen who served in the Eraser Highlanders 
and afterwards returned to Strathglass, it was recorded 
in the district that Alastair Dubh was one of a camp 
of British soldiers occupying some outlying post in 
Canada, where some of the contents of the military 
stores under their charge were disappearing in a 
mysterious way ; and the officers, determined to detect 
and punish the culprit, ordered the soldiers to watch 
the stores every night in turn until the thief was 
discovered. Strange to say, the first sentinel placed 
on this duty never returned. Sentry after sentry 
took his turn and place, not one of whom were seen 
again. One night the duty fell to the lot of some 
faint-hearted man, who, firmly believing that he would 
never return, was much disconcerted. Alastair Dubh, 
as compassionate as he was brave, pitied the poor man, 
and bade him cheer up, asking him at the same time 
what he would be disposed to give him if he would 
mount guard that night in his place. "Everything 
I have in the world," was the reply. Alastair did 
not ask for more than the loan of his bonnet, his 
top-coat, and his gun for that night only, all of which 
were readily placed at his disposal. Alastair began 
his preparations for the night-watch by crossing some 
pieces of wood, on which he placed his neighbour s 
top-coat and bonnet. He proceeded to examine the 
gun, and loaded it with two bullets. He then primed 
and loaded his own gun with a similar charge, re- 


marking that such was his favourite shot when deer 
stalking in Strathglass. Alastair mounted guard at 
the appointed time, took his two guns along with 
him, one bayonet, and the dummy in top-coat and 
bonnet. He stuck the dummy in the snow within 
some fifty or sixty yards of the sentry-box in which 
he stood. Ordering the man he relieved to retire, he 
expressed an opinion that the contents of his two 
muskets would give a warm reception to the first two 
thieves who approached the stores, and that the bayonet 
would probably satisfy the curiosity of a few more of 
them. During the night he noticed a huge object, 
under cover of a thick shower of snow, coming towards 
the stores by a circuitous route, apparently with the 
view of getting behind the dummy. In this the 
monster succeeded, and getting within a few paces 
of it, he, tiger-like, sprang upon it, when both fell on 
the snow. The strange object was soon on its legs ; 
but no sooner was he up than a couple of bullets 
from Alastair brought him again to the ground. After 
a minute s moaning and rolling on the snow he 
managed to get up, and attempted to reach the sentry- 
box, but Macdonell fired at him a second time, send 
ing two more bullets through his body, which brought 
the monster again to the ground, this time to leave it 
no more. 

By this time the whole garrison beat to arms, and 
soon crowded round the body of a gigantic Eed Indian. 
A strong party was sent on the track made in the snow 
by the wild savage in his approach ; they thus managed 
to trace and reach his cave, which was found guarded 
by a fierce Eed Indian squaw and a young man, both 


of whom prepared to give battle. The woman was 
killed in the struggle to capture them which ensued. 
The soldiers ransacked the cave, and found every cask 
of rum, box of sugar, and other articles that had been 
stolen from the camp, either wholly or partially con 
sumed, in the cave. Horrible to relate, they also found 
the heads of every one of their missing comrades in the 
dreadful place. Just as if exhibited like trophies, each 
head was suspended by the queue, or pigtail, then worn 
by the British soldier, from a peg round the inside of 
this charnel-house. 

Events like these are but incidents in the history 
of a corps which gained great praise for its soldier 
like bearing from so fine a commander as the gallant 
General Wolfe. 

But such a body of men could never be raised in the 
same circumscribed area now, for even of so popular 
a corps as the Lovat Scouts only one squadron of 
120 men comes from Strathglass. It was not, 
however, without some hesitation that at the begin 
ning of the nineteenth century the clearances were 
effected in this district. We have heard of the 
" Easbuigean Bana " ; it was the " Bhantighearna Bhan," 
the fair lady who long resisted the idea prevailing 
at that time of clearing off the smaller tenants and 
letting large tracts of land to farmers from the south. 
As a widow, she had the rental of part of the late Laird 
of Chisholm s lands, and so long as she lived the small 
tenants were safe in their holdings. At her death, 
however, the best farms were let secretly, and half the 
inhabitants of the Glen were left without house or 
home, whilst later on only two farmers of the name of 


Chisholm were left, where before almost the whole 
strath had been farmed by them. For some years the 
Lord Lovat of the day received many of these on to 
lands in Glenstrathfarrar, but later this most fertile 
valley was devoted to deer also, and these are still in 
possession. Well may we look forward to the day 
when another " fair lady " may arise to give preference 
to the good people who long ago were such faithful 
Christians, such devoted tenants, and such sterling 
soldiers, as were those of whom the surviving tradi 
tions in Strathglass tell. 

Having opened this present chapter by a reference 
to the close union which exists between the High 
landers at home and their relatives in Canada, I may 
perhaps be permitted to close it with a verse of the 
favourite Canadian boating song, the authorship of 
which has been so frequently discussed of late. The 
immediate reference is to the Isle of Arran, but the 
sentiments expressed have just as often been those of 
the Highland emigrants from Strathglass across the 

" Come foreign rage let discord burst in slaughter ; 
Oh then for clansmen s true and stern claymore 
The hearts that would have given their blood like water, 
Beat heavily beyond the Atlantic roar." 

Antigonish Casket, 21st November 1907. 




ABERARDER, 122, 123, 137 

Aberdeen, 28, 30, 46, 62, 102, 111, 
152, 187 

Chapel, 74 

College, 104 

Abergeldie, 89, 90 

Aberlour, 18-21, 34 

Aboyne, 22, 103 

, Lord, 152 ; Lady, 10 

Achdalieu, 159 

Achluachrach, 190 

Achnacarry, 175, 187, 189 

Achnashellach, 144 

Adamson, 9 

Aigas, chapel at, 207, 209 

Aird, The, 191 

Airly, Earl of, 157 

Alasdair nan Cleas, 148-150 

Dubh, 216 

Aldern, battle of, 154 

Alford, battle of, 154 

Allan-nan-Creach, 125 

Alltacoileachan, 23 

Anecdotes, 14, 18, 66, 73, 82, 96- 
98, 111-115, 119, 126, 133, 134, 
139, 142, 143, 150, 180, 196, 
197, 205, 215, 216, etc. 

Antigonish Casket, 191, 219 

Statistics, 211 

Aquhorties, 36, 39, 49 

Ardearg, 111 

Ardichi, Ardoch, 76, 79, 110 

Ardkenneth, 129 

Argyle, Earls of, 23, 24, 146, 151- 
154, 157 

Argyllshire, 153, 154 

Auchanachy, 18 
Auchenraw, 42 
Auchindoune, 20 
Auchindryne, 99, 117, 205 
Auchlichry, Glenlivet, 58 
Auchriachan, 59, 63, 64 
Australia, emigration to, 136 
Avochie, Gordon of, 11 
Avon, river, 55 

BADENOOH, 122-144, 147, 148, 

154, 156, 185, 186 

, Rev. Alex., 65 

Chapel, 17 

Baillie, General, 154 

, Mr Robert, 136 

Balanahoun, 199 
Ballater, 77 
Ballindalloch, 55, 56 
Balmoral, 81 
Balnacraig, 35, 78 

, Gordon of, 22 

Beauly Chapel, 210 

Beldornie, 11, 18 

Bellesheim, quoted, 56 

Ben Alder, "The Cage," 137 

Benbecula, 129 

Ben Macdhui, 55, 122 

Ben Nevis, 158 

Berthier, General, 46 

Bhantighearna Bhan, 218 

Blackball, Rev. Gilbert, 4, 8, 10, 


Blairs College, 53, 66 
Blar nan leine, 148 
Bochle, 41, 53 



Boecillo, 80 

Bohuntan, Glenroy, 178 
Boyd, Mr John, 191 
Braco, Lord, 100 
Braemar, 77, 78, 88-121, 195, 202, 

Castle, 100, 101 

Chapel, 17, 117, 120 

Gathering, 101 

, legends quoted, 92 

Braggan, Rev. Dominic, 42 
Brockie, Rev. Mr, 17, 18, 34, 58 
Browne s History of the High 
lands, 194 
Buiternach, 53 
Bulloch, J. M., quoted, 6 
Burghers, Anti- Burghers, 18 
Burnet, Rev. Mr, 17 
Burns, quotations, 44, 69 
Byrne, Rev. Will., 185 

Cabrach, 15-22, 34 
Ca logan, General, 26 
Cairnborrow, 8, 13 

, Gordons of, 11, 26 

Cairngorm, 55, 119 
Cameron, Alan, 176 

, Alex., 34, 35 

, Rev. Alex., 187, 188, 201- 


, Bishop, 65, 194, 198, 211 

, Clan, 146, 147, 151 

, Donald, 176 

of Krracht, 177 

, Sir Ewan, 158, 164 

, James, 35 

, May, 82 

"Volunteers," 176 

Campbell, R-v. Alex., 132, 133 

, Clan, 146, 154, 157 

of Lochnell, 24 

Canada, Fraser Highlanders in, 

Canadian Boating Song, 219 

Catholics, 190, 210-212, 219 

Candacraig, Gleng*irn, 86 
Caudlemas Day, 71 

Candles, manufacture of, 71 
Cappach, 171 

Cardinals, the, in cipher, 189 
Carlisle, prisoners at, 41, 167-172 
Carmichael, Rev. Donald, 65-67 
Carruthers, Rev. James, 42, 52 
Castleton of Braemar, 40, 109, 

Celtic Magazine, 199, 204, 212, 


Chambers Annals, 6 
Chapel Christ, 40 
Chapeltown, Glenlivet, 17, 52, 53 
Chapman, Mr James, 64 
Charles I., King, 4, 5, 151 
II., King, 5 

Stuart, Prince, 137, 164, 

165, 169, 173-176 

Chisholm, Bishop Aeneas, 184, 
185, 208-211 

Rev. Arch., 185, 211 

Bishop, of Aberdeen, 53 

Colin, of Lietry, 201 

Mr Colin, 193, 199, 204, 

212, 214 

Rev. Hugh, 200 

Bishop John, 206-210 

Laird of, 201, 206, 218 

Captain Macrae, 202 

Rev. Thomas, 209 

Rev. William, 130, 185 

Christie, Rev. William, 4, 9 
Clachan Comar, 194, 207 
Clanranald, 129, 147, 165, 178 
Clashendrich, 81 

Clashmore, Clashnoir, etc., 34, 

44, 52, 58, 61 
Clement XII., Pope, 35 
Cluny Castle, 135, 140, 143 

Macpherson, 134-137, 142, 

143, 189 

Cockfighting, 76 
Coil-an-Tuin Chapel, 126 
Comar, 201 
Conglass, 63 
Cope, Sir John, 174 
Corgarff, 61, 75, 80-83 
Corryarrick Pass, 130, 138 
Coul, Laggan, 123, 139, 140 


Covenant, Covenanters, 5, 56, 

146, 151-155 

Craig Choinnich, 101, 111 
Cranachan, Glenroy, 182, 184 
Craskie, 201, 202 
Crathie, 95, 103, 123, 144 
Crichtons of Frendraught, 3 
Crombie Burn, 27, 28, 42, 54 

, Rev. J., 88 

Culloden, 31, 79, 164, 172, 176, 


Cults, Strathavon, 67 
Cumberland, Duke of, 18, 31, 

Cumming, James, 74 

DALCHULLY, 123, 135, 142 
Dalfad, 75, 79, 84 
Dawson, Rev. Mr, 18 
Dee, Bridge of, 152 
Devoir, Rev James, 26 
Dingwall Presbyterian Records, 


Distaffs, St, Day, 70 
Donald Dubh Epiteach, 98 

Glas of Keppoch, 159 

Douai. See Scots College, 171, 


Downan, Dunan, 24, 33, 40, 53 
Drumgask, 22, 77 
Drumgeldie, Church of, 8 
Drummond Castle, 31 
Norie s " Loyal Lochaber," 


Duff, Sir Alex., 118 
Dufftown, 18, 21, 22 
Duffus, Rev. James, 58 
Dunbar, Rev. Mr, 56, 79 
Duncan, Rev. George, 41, 42, 52, 

Dundee, 4, 154 

, "Bonnie," 95, 164 

Durward, Chas., 74 

Duthie, Rev. Will, 12, 30-33 

EASBUIGEAN bana, 211 
Edinburgh, 3, 5, 6, 13, 78, 84, 

149, 155, 157 
Eigg, Isle of, 210 

Emigration to Australia, 87, 131 

to Canada, 182 

Enzie, Earl of, 1 

, St Ninian s, 7 

Episcopal Church, 8, 146, 151 

clergy, 189 

Errol, Earl of, 23 
Eskadale, 192, 209, 210 

FALKIRK, battle of, 100, 137, 

166, 167, 174 
Farquharson, Rev. Alex., 36 

Alex., 116, 206 

Rev. Charles, 78, 79, 86, 
91 103, 111-116, 201, 202 

Donald, 64, 92, 103 

Francis, 100 

Gregory, 30 

James, 100 

Rev. John, 65, 115, 187, 
188, 194-206, 211 

John, 35 

, of Inverey, 92, 103 

Lewis, 103, 205 

Peter, of Inverey, 93 

Robert, 59, 60 

William, 92 

of Allancuaich, 98 

of Invercauld, 96, 100, 111 

Fasnakyle, 192, 201, 204, 207, 

209, 210 
Fife, Earl of, 21, 114, 118 

, Duke of, 101 

Forbes, Rev. Donald, 75, 130, 185 

Leith, 24 

Forsyth, Rev. Mr, 78, 103, 106- 

109, 115 

Fort Augustus, 76, 84, 140, 165, 
175, 184, 198 . 

Macdonald, 137 

William, 1, 147, 164, 166, 

175, 184, 185 
Fraser, Bishop, 184, 192 

, Clan, 147, 191 

Highlanders, 176, 214-218 

, Mrs, of Culbokie, 195 

, , of Guisachan, 205 

of Moulie, 209 

, Rev. Peter, 52, 58 


Eraser, Hon. Simon, 213-215 
Frendraught Castle, 3 
Fyvie, 154 

GAELIC studies, 120, 194 

Gall, Rev. H., 67, 68 

Garvabeg, 123, 138, 144 

Garvamore, 123 

Geddes, Rev. Alex., 33 

, Bishop, 9, 14, 18, 25, 34-36, 

44, 45, 53, 63, 110, 171 
Gellovy, 122, 136 
General Assembly Reports, 34, 

183, 203 
George, King, III., 37, 38, 80 

, , IV., 47 

Gibston, 9 

Gilleasbuig Urrasach, 95-97 

Gillis, Rev. Angus, 120, 182, 190 

, Eneas, 128, 182 

Gladstanes, 2 

Glasghoil, 83 

Glasgow, 155 

Glass river, 196, 204 

Glencairn, Earl of, 158 

Glencannich, 201, 210, 212 

Glencat, Aboyne, 79 

Glencoe, 162, 163 

Glenfinnan, 165, 173, 187 

Glengairn, 26, 69-87, 103, 110, 

111, 120, 184 

chapel, 17, 86 

Glengarry, 64, 130, 179, 182- 

186, 193 
, Chief of, 138, 160, 164, 


, Lady, 138 

Glenlivet, 13, 17, 23-68, 107 

, Baron Gordon of, 1, 2 

, battle of, 2, 90, 149 

Glenmoriston, 130, 186 
Glennie, Rev. James, 52 
Glenspean, 184, 190 
Glenstrathfarrar, 203, 214, 219 
Gordon of Abergeldie, 90 

of Aberlour, 29 

, Rev. Alex., 30, 79 

, Alex., Earl of Huntly, 147 

? , of Minmore, 34 

Gordon, Baron, of Glenlivet, Bade- 
noch, Lochaber, Strathavon, 1 

of Beldornie, Alex., 11 ; 

Jean, Marie, Arthur, James, 
Charles, 11 

, Bishop James, 9, 25, 27-31, 

60, 61, 120 

of Cairnborrow, 11 ; Car- 

mellie, 56 

Castle, 1, 6, 107, 109 

, Chas., 67 ; Rev. Chas., 52 

, Cosmo, Duke of, 30 

of Craig, 11 

, Dukes of, 134, 176, 189 ; 

I. Duke, 5, 6,27; II., 7; III., 

64 ; IV., 20; V., 50, 142 

, Duchess of, 7, 59, 60, 61 

, Dr J. F. S., quoted, 16, 18, 


, Duke of Richmond and, 52 

, General, 164 

, George E., of Huntly, 147 

, , Rev., 20, 21, 25, 29, 

30, 35 

, , of Drumin, 28 

, Giles (Sheelah), 12 

of Gight, 10 

of Glastirum, 19, 30 

of Glenbucket, 41, 63, 67, 


Highlanders, 137 

, James, 43. See Bishop 


, Lady Jean, 6 

, Rev. John, 12, 13, 26, 27, 

32, 33, 58 

, John, Curator of, 59, 60, 65 

, . Wardhouse, 10 

, , of Lettoch, 34 

, Dr, of Keithmore, 18, 22 

of Letterfourie, 30 

, Lord Lewis, 153 

of Littlemill, 56 

of Minmore, 50 

, Rev. Peter, 110 

, Rev. Robert, 7 

of Tullochallum, Alex., 19 

, John, 20 

, William, 11, 29, 34, 62 



Grant, Rev. Alex., 27, 68, 59 

of Ballindalloch, 62 

, Bishop James, 14, 15, 28, 

31, 37, 187 

, "Captain," 119 

, Clan, 154 

, Rev. Colin, 120 

, George, 64 

of Glenmoriston, 148 

, Sir James, 64 

, Rev. John, 40 

, Mr John, 92, 111, 195 

, John, factor. 64 

, Rev. Kilian, 58 

, Lewis Maurus, 58 

, Mrs, of Laggan, 12, 140 

, Rev. Peter, 120 

, Robert, 58 

of Strathspey, 148, 149 

of Tomnavoulin, 27, 28, 34 

, Rev. William Erhard, 58 

, Will., 59-65 

Gray, Miss M. , 8 

, Rev. Will., 33, 34 

Grierson, Calam, 77, 79, 84 
Guthrie, Rev. Mr, 42 

HAMILTON, Mr John, 65 

Hanover, Elector of, 189 

Hawley, General, 167 

Hay, Bishop, 16, 19, 36, 37, 40, 
45, 53, 65, 208 

Highbridge, 165 

Highland anecdotes, See Anec 

chapels, description, 9, 10, 

20, 21, 42, 66, 73 

customs, 20, 70-77, 91 

funerals, 119 

outfit, 96 

priest s life, 59 

schools, 44, 75, 76 

Hippesley, Sir J., 47 

Hobb, Richard, 143 

Hooke, Nath., 5 

Huntly, 9 

Castle, 2, 10. See also 


, Earl of, 2, 23, 24, 149, 151 

VOL. I. 

Huntly, Marquis of, 3, 4, 5, 10, 11 

, Marchioness of, 4 

, Mission of, 9, 12, 14, 48 

Hurry, General, 154 
Husk, General, 167 

IAIN Lorn, 159-161 

Moirdartach, 148 

Ian Buidhe-mor, 214 
Inchully, 206, 207, 208 
Innes, Alex., 35 
Chas., 77 

Rev. George, 26, 27 

James, 22 

Rev. John, 77, 78 

Rev. Thomas, 57 

Rev. Walter, 77 

Insch. Lochaber, 180 
Inveravon parish, 55 
Invercauld, 89, 91, 106 
Invercharron, 155 
Inverey, 89, 92, 121, 198 
Inverlair, 160 
Inverlochy Castle, 147 

, battle of, 145, 154-160 

Inverness, 79, 147, 188, 214 
chapel, 210 

JAMES II., King, 5 

III., 90 

IV., 147 

VI., 2, 23, 149 

VIII., 35 

Johnstone, Tom, 19 

KEILOCH, Braemar, 91 
Keith, 21, 22 
Keithmore, 18, 22 
Keithock, 20, 21 
Kempcairn, 21 
Kennedy, Rev. Alex., 33 

, James, 26, 57 

Keppoch, Hard of, 159-161 

candlesticks, 150 

, Castle of, 147 

chiefs, 146-166, 172-189 

, House of, 138, 157 

murder, 159 

Kerr, Lord Robert, 167 



Killechiaran, Lismore, 208 
Killechyrille, 160, 183, 185, 189 
Killiecrankie, 5, 160, 164 
Kilmallie, 184 
Kilmonivaig, "papists" in, 183, 


Kilmoraoh, "papists" in, 204 
Kiltarlitie, "papists" in, 204 
Kindrochit, 110 
Kingston, Ontario, 129, 211 
Kingussie, 142 

, chapel at, 132 

Kirkmichael, 55 
Knock, Castle of, 90 
Knockfin, 193, 194 
Knox, John, 207 

LAGGAN chapel, 17 

parish, 134, 140, 144 

Loch, 122 

in Glengairn, 74 

Laman, John, 110 

Lament, Rev. Mr, 81 

Lang, Mr And., 172 

Laud, Arch., 151 

Leeds, Duchess of, 119 

Lent, observance, 72, 73 

Leslie, General, 155 

Lettoch, 34, 50 

Lindsay, Rev. E., 103 

Lismore, seminary of, 133, 185, 

208, 210 
Lochaber, 96, 98, 122, 128, 130, 

145-190, 203 

Mission, 178-188 

Loch Arkaig, 175 

Eil, 146 

Lochiel, Cameron of, 136, 146- 

159, 164, 175, 176, 187, 189, 


Loch Lochy, 148, 184 
Lochnagar, 119 
Loch Oich, 160 
Lord of the Isles, 161 
Lovat, Lord, 148, 149 
, Simon, 188, 189, 203- 


Scouts, 218 

, Thomas, 209, 210 

Lovie, Rev. Mr, 22, 118 

M BEAX, Lachlan, 184 
M Callum, Donald Roy, 106 
M Corry, Rev. John, 120 
Macdonald, M Donald, Mac- 

donell, etc. 

, Allan, 137 

, Miss Alice, 145 

, Alastair Ban, 137 

, Alex., 137, 138, 146, 181, 216 

, Rev. Alex., 129 

, Angus, 137, 181 

, Rev. Angus, 50, 120, 131 

, Archibald, 137, 176, 181 

, Rev. Austin, 208, 209 

, Bishop of Kingston, 200, 


, Bishop, 53 

, Charlotte, 138 

, Rev. Chas., 131 

of Clanranald, 146, 176 

, Colin, 181 

, Coll, 162 

of Coul, 139 

, Dr, 165 

, Rev. David, 129 

, Donald, 137, 146, 147, 165, 

178, 181 
5 Rev. Dougall, 30 

, Francis, 29 

of Garvabeg, 138 

of Garvamore, 138 

of Gellovy, 136 

, Giles, 111 

of Glencoe, 162, 163 

of Glengarry, 146, 147, 162 

, Bishop Hugh, 18, 25-37, 


, Rev. James, 13, 14, 49 

, Sir James, 149 

, Jessie, 138 

, Bishop John, 187 

, Rev. John, 120, 128, 178- 


, John, Inohvuilt, 214 

, John, Cranachan, 181 

of Kinlochmoidart, 41, 171 

, Mary, 166 



Macdonald, Rev. Ranald, 80 

, Bishop Ranald, 184-187 

, Ranald, of Keppooh, 137, 

147, 156, 176, 181 

, Colonel Reginald, 139 

, Rev. Roderick, 129 

of Sherrabeg, 139 

ofSleat, 160 

of Strathmashie, 143 

of Terndriech, 41, 166-172 

of Tulluchrom, 137 

Maceachan, Rev. Evan, 120, 129, 

MacGillechallum, Neil Stewart, 


Macgillivray, Rev. James, 42, 194 
Machar, St, 83 

, Feille, 87 

Mackay, General, 57, 90 
Mackenzie, Rev. Angus, 192, 210 
, Chas., 185 

, Duncan, 209 

, James, 72, 73, 75 

-^ , Luis, 83 

Mackintosh, Rev. Lachlan, 73, 

, Laird of, 149, 151, 161-163, 

176, 189 

, Clan, 148, 149 

, Rev. Will., 67 

Macneill of Barra, 24 

Macpherson, Mr John, 77 

, Abbe Paul, 1, 16, 19, 43-53 

, Cluny, 134, 176 

Macpherson s poetry, 194 

Macrae, Rev. Philip, 209 

, Rev. Donald, 120 

, Rev. Mr, 194 

Macswein, Rev. A., 209 

M Gregor Anne, 110 

, Calam, 77 

, Rev. Gregor, 79 

, James, 185 

, Margaret, 74, 75 

of Scalan, 39 

M Guire, Rev. Terence, 13 

M Hardy, Rev., 83, 111, 116 

M Kenna, Rev. Mr, 128, 182 

M Lachlan, Rev. James, 13 

M Lean, Captain, 24 
M Lennan, Rev. Murdoch, 95 
M Leod, Rev. Norman, 83, 206 

, Rev. Will., Ill, 116 

M Nab, Sir Allan, 211 

, John, 127, 128, 138, 142, 


, Rev. Mr, 132 

, Major A. H., 124 

M Naughton, Rev. Mr, 52 
M Q.uarrie, Mrs, 210 
Mairi ni n Ailean, 200 

Ian Ruaidh, 200 

Malcolm Canmore, 101 
Mar, Braes of. See Braemar 

, Earl of, 91, 109, 165 

Marston Moor, 153 
Marydale, 202, 210 
Mass houses, 9, 42, 64 

, in the open, 57, 128 

Matrimony, definition of, 82 
Maxwell, Rev. C., 9, 12 

, Rev. Francis, 77 

Memoir of Macdonald of Keppoch, 

of Mission of Strathglass, 

Menzies, Rev. Mr, 18 

of Pitfodels, 111 

Mercy, Sisters of, 67 
Michie, Mr James, 39 

, John, 76, 84-86 

Minmore, 26, 34, 40 

Minto, Lord, 62 

Monaltrie, 89, 92 

Monie, Jimmy, 119 

Monk, General, 158 

Montrose, Marquis of. 92, 123, 

Morar, 26, 182 
Moray, Earl of, 149 
Mordaunt, Lady Henrietta, 7 
Mortlach, 12, 13, 14, 18, 29, 34 
Muirhead, Mrs Agnes, 70 
Mulroy, 161-163 
Mungo, St, Cemetery, 84, 87 
Munro, SirH., 135 
Murray, Robert, 4 
of Broughton, 172, 173 



NAPOLEON, Wars of, 138 

Nevie, 40 

Nicolson, Bishop, 25, 120 

, , St Ninian s, 7 

Nithsdale, 189 

ORANGE, House of, 160 

Ordachoy, 83 

Owenson, Rev. John, 77, 102 

PARIS. See Scots College 
Paterson, Rev. Alex., 9 

, John, 34, 36, 39, 42 

Peat casting, 71 
Perth, 153 

, Duke of, 6 

, Duchess of, 6, 30 

Peter, Father, 179 
Peterkirk, 8, 40 
Philiphaugh, 92, 155 
Pius VI., plan for delivering, 46, 

VII., 48 

Pole Inn, 52 

Pope, the, in cipher of 1745, 189 

Presbyterianism, 8, 152 

Presbyterians, 189 

Preshome, 14 

Preston, capitulation of, 95 

Prestonpans, 137, 166, 174 

Propaganda, report to, 59 

Radet, General, 48 
Ramsay, Rev. Mr, 77, 110 
Ranald Galda, 147 
Rankin, Rev. Ronald, 131 
Ratisbon, 111 
Rattray, Rev. Will., 13 
Reid, Rev. John, 65 

, Peter, 9 

1 Will., 12-19, 29 

Rines, Robert, 8 

Rising of 1715, 31, 91, 94, 136, 

of 1745, 41, 79, 100, 137, 

166-176, 212 
, cipher of that date, 


Ritchie, Willie, 72, 73 

Robertson of Stralooh, 161 

Robieston, 9 

Rome, 46, and see Scots College 

Rosary beads, 51 

Rupert, Prince, 153 

Russell, Rev. J., 67 


St Cyril, Lochaber, 125 

St Kenneth s, Badenoch, 125 

St Michael s, Badenoch, 124, 126 

Samalaman, 208 

Scalan, 13, 17, 24-40, 53, 80 

Scots College, Douai, 171, 184, 

194, 198, 199, 206 
, Paris, 26, 29, 30, 33, 

35, 57, 78 
, Rome, 29, 30, 35, 44, 

48, 49, 50, 178 
, Valladolid, 25, 44, 80, 

120, 129, 131, 159 
Directory, 10, 44, 65, 78, 

178, 192 

Monastery, Ratisbon, 58 

Scott, Captain, 165, 166 

, Sir Walter, 173 

, Rev. A., 12 

Seton, Rev. Robert, 77, 109 
Shand, Rev. Will., 13, 30 
Sharp, Rev. James, 36, 49 
Sheep and shepherds, 84, 126 
Shennagart, 138 
Shenval, 15-22, 41, 45 
Sheriffmuir, 95, 136 
Sherrabeg, 123, 138 
Sherramore, 123, 144 
Shirts, battle of the, 148 
Shrove Tuesday, 76 
Sibbald, Sir Robert, 57 
" Siberia of Scotland," 16 
Skirdeston, 34 

Smith, Bishop, 14, 25, 32, 54, 41 
Society for Promoting Christian 

Knowledge, 9 

Spalding, 4, 157 ; Club, 103, 110 
Spardan, Badenoch, 124 
Spens, Colonel, 198 
Spey river, 55, 123 



Spinelli, Cardinal, 35 

Stewart of Appin, 175 

Stobhall, 7, 30, 46 

Strachan, Rev. Hugh, 77, 110 

Strathavon, 17, 27, 30, 40, 55- 
68, 107 

Strathbogie, 1-22, 33 

Castle, 2-10 

, conversions in, 56 

, minister of, 8 

, Raws of, 8 

, Synod of, 11 

Strathdown, 57. See also Strath 

Stratherrick, 130, 186 

Strathglass, 185, 187, 191-219 

, Laird of, 191, 192 

Strathisla, 18, 21 

Stron-an-duin, 125, 129 

Stuart papers, 47 

Royal family, 37, 38, 62 

Prince Charles, 37, 41, 79, 


Rev. Donald, 63, 65 

Rev. James, 120 

Rev. Robert, 43 

Sutherland, Rev. John, 13 

TERNDRIECH, Macdonald of, 165- 

Thomson, Rev. John, 14, 36, 


Thornhill, 31 
Tirrim, Castle, 148 
Tombae, Glenlivet, 17, 41, 48 
Tomintoul, 17, 55, 63-68 
Tomnavoulan, 42 
Traquair, 171, 188, 189 
Trayner, Rev. Mr, 57 
Tullich, Reel of, 93 
Tullochallum, 19, 20 
Tullochrom, 122, 137 
Tyrie, Rev. John, 9, 27, 32, 41, 

UIST, Isle of, 30, 129, 184 

VALLADOLID, Scots College, 25, 

80, 120, 129, 131, 159 
| Vicars Apostolic, meeting of, 13 
i Victoria, Queen, 89, 101 

I WADE, General, 130, 138, 189 

| Wallace, Bishop, 6 

! Wardhouse, 10, 11 

i Warwick Hall, 171 

; Waterloo, 137, 140, 177 

i Wellington, Duke of, 80 

West Indies, Cameron High 
landers, 177 

William, King, 163, 164 

Wolfe, General, 218 








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